Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Denying Ourselves

As Christians, we recognize that we are not our own, but we belong to God.  Because we are God's we must put His desire and will above our own.  We must deny our own wants and desires in order to please Him.  Romans 12:1-2 does a good job in explaining this for us: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

There are two short paragraphs in this section I find the most important in today's reading.  The first is a reminder that we are not our own.  The second is that we belong to God.  When Calvin writes that we are not our own, he tells us not to let our reason or our will to sway us, we should not let fleshly desires be our goal, and we should forget ourselves and everything that is ours.  When he writes that we are God's, he tells us that we should live and die for Him, we should let His will and wisdom guide our lives, and that striving toward Him should be our only goal.

The next section is to remind us to always seek not our own desires, but to seek out the Lord's will.  We should be servants of God, always seeking to advance His glory.  Scripture helps us in this goal.  "For when Scripture bids us leave off self-concern, it not only erases from our minds the yearning to possess, the desire for power, and the favor of men, but it also uproots ambition and all craving for human glory and other more secret plagues."  Our job as Christians is to follow God and His will.  By denying ourselves, we can please God.  But when we do not deny ourselves, "there either the foulest vices rage without shame or if there is any semblance of virtue, it is vitiated by depraved lusting after glory." 

Titus 2:11-14 reads, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,His own special people, zealous for good works."  This passage contains a promise of grace.  It also instructs us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts (ourselves and our interests).  Instead of our own desires, we must live "soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age."  We will fail in our quest to follow the will of God, but the promise of forgiveness and redemption is also given in this passage.

Tomorrow's reading: 3.7.4-3.7.7

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