Then He said to them all,
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself,
and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
~ Luke 9:23

Self-denial. We all know what it means, yet it is the most difficult of things to do.

I had an opportunity to die to self last night, but I blew it. All desire to allow the Lord to operate in me flew out the window as quickly as a trapped wild bird does.

Jesus told Peter, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). Well, it was me He was talking to, because I denied Him and gave way to the flesh and all its inglorious fury.

Within minutes of my ungodly response, the nonsense of what had happened hit me like an oversized pillow of bricks, whop! Even after receiving a heart-felt apology from Don, I was still stubborn and would not forgive. As the inner battle for dominance raged, the Holy Spirit showed me I also disrespected my husband in a grievous way. Groan…

How often has my flesh and the gleeful prodding of the enemy waylaid me from the good God desires for me? How often do my good intentions to deny self and take up my cross daily, and follow Jesus disintegrate at a mere bump on the road? Oh Lord, strengthen this feeble soul and infuse it with Your Spirit that it may overcome the flesh and be more than a conqueror! Only in this way, will I be able to obey the command, “Quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Father, thank You for forgiving my sin against You and Don, and for restoring our relationship. Help us both to “Walk in the Spirit, and…not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). Help me to learn to remain calm in the midst of anything that would tempt me to respond in the flesh; help me to surrender all to You, deny my flesh, and respond with a soft answer or remain quiet. Thank You that “love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). In Jesus’ name, be glorified in our lives, however bumpy they may be, amen.

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