April 25, 2017
There once was a nymph named Narcissus,Who thought himself very delicious;So he stared like a foolAt his face in a pool,And his folly today is still with us[quoted in John Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1986) 275].
Perceiving themselves as captivating, people have been flirting with themselves for several decades. People blather incessantly with regard to an adventure to discover themselves or to become “in touch” with the manner in which they feel concerning life. They want to discuss their feelings and how they perceive those affections. Some of these same individuals would define integrity as doing whatever they desire, and any manner of self-criticism is deemed puritanical. Those who are obsessed with themselves do not require discipline or sacrifice but demand expression and fulfillment.
The Bible reveals that pride is one of the worst sins because it is arrogance that motivated Satan to rebel against God (in addition to motivating fallen angels to rebellion). The sin of pride is a preoccupation with self. Indeed, it is appropriate that the middle letter in the word “pride” is “i” because conceit occurs when everything concerns “me, myself, and I.” Pride is an emphasis upon self: “I.” Satan’s opposition to God began with “I” (cf. Isa 14:12-15), and it is the same with us. If you are preoccupied with yourself, then you are suffering from the sin of pride.
Narcissus’ foolishness persists today among those who judge any form of self-denial as deplorable. Selfishness ought to be considered for what it truly is: shameful. Moreover, some apply such conceit to God and his Word by declaring both irrelevant unless they are able to make one “healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Jesus spoke differently and proclaimed a contrary message to popular culture. According to the Lord, eternal life involves sacrifice, which is taking Christ’s “yoke” (Matt 11:29), denying oneself (16:24), and being willing to “count the cost” (Luke 14:28).
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it (Matt 16:24-25).
What did the Lord mean when He said to deny self, “take up his cross,” and lose one’s life for his sake? Did the Lord indicate that we should forfeit all individual rights and ignore all personal interests? Do followers of Jesus become dumb sheep who are waiting to be fleeced? Do we loathe ourselves and permit others to treat us poorly and easily defeat us? The biblical answer is no!
Humility and fortitude can be consistent virtues. Insisting for individual rights and love for others can also exist together. Asserting your own claims, opinions, and rights can even be harmonized with your happiness and satisfaction with yourself. Even the act of losing one’s life for Christ’s sake can be the means for finding it again.
How is this achieved? Jesus explained, “‘For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” The prepositional phrase is fundamental to finding life: “for My sake.” God is “a shield” around those who belong to Him. The Lord God is the believer’s “glory, and the One who lifts” our head. “Salvation belongs to the Lord” and God’s blessing is upon his people (Ps 3:3, 8).
Your Capitol Missionary-Pastor,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.