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The Second Touch
I often walk away from sermons wondering what might resonate in people’s hearts from the lesson. Different things stick with different people. For myself, it is the phrase “deny self”. What does it mean for me to “deny self” this week?
There are some things I need to do this week that I don’t particularly want to do. They involve people and my participation might help in some tangible ways. Is sacrificing my own desires and doing what is best for others an example of denying self?
I can serve others for the purpose of self-interest or self-advancement. It’s tempting for me to think, at times, that when I do some small act of kindness that God is fortunate to have me on his side. It’s easy for me to glory in my self-sacrificial service!
Tomorrow I will participate once again in the weekly reading of the Gospel of Mark. I will watch Jesus as he again demonstrates unbelievable power and demonstrates that he is indeed the Son of God. I will then watch again as he lays that aside and is abused, rejected and brutally murdered. He willingly gave himself for others. How can I claim to be his follower if I am unwilling to do the same?
Resurrection is the final note of triumph in the Gospel of Mark; but the emphasis of the book lies in the cross. Resurrection is when God takes our self-emptying, self-denying lives and ushers in the kingdom of God. We don’t make it happen, we are simply the empty vessels God chooses to use. This week, I want to continue to ask myself, “what does it mean for me to deny self”?