“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
“Deny himself.” That’s an idea we don’t hear much about today. No, of course we don’t. We are much too selfish to deny ourselves. Denying ourselves would require us to be less selfish.
Contrast our selfishness with God’s definite lack of selfishness. He left the wonders and splendor of heaven… for what?! A sin-stained planet full of insignificant rebels? Life in its purest form for the ignominious death of a criminal on a torturous cross? He left behind the brightness of heaven for the dark, dreary drabness of earth. He traded heaven’s absolute perfection for decay, filth and squalor. That is not a trade that you or I would make. No, of course we wouldn’t. Because to do so would mean that we would have to deny ourselves so many pleasantries and luxuries. But the Lord is not like us.
Although He is complete in Himself – He needs absolutely nothing – yet He chose to deny Himself in order to rescue sinners like you and me.