I couldn’t see my face, but I imagine there was a pained look on it through most of the duration.
We (mostly I) had a long discussion about denying. Denying is something many of us humans are accustomed to and are good at. We seem to lack the ability to deny where it counts though. Jesus says to all people in Luke 9 that anyone who would come after Him must deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Him.
God only recently let me really understand this. Denying ourselves is basically like saying no to a chocolate bar if I want to lose weight or saying no to my desire to stay in bed if I want to get up early for a workout (not that I do that, ever). It means saying no to myself in relation to things that are unlike God.
We focused mostly on the list of fruits of a Spirit led life in Galatians. I won’t attempt to go through it all here; it amounts to finding the opposite of each fruit and saying no to myself when I want to do things that would be against the fruit. Seeing how my posts on things concerning single people get the most attention and it’s a big part of my life right now, I’ll hang right there.
To follow Jesus in this respect means saying no to things that won’t grow me His way as a single man. When an image of a woman appears on t.v. that I don’t need to see, I need to deny myself; getting there. When a conversation takes a turn I don’t need to hear I must say no. I see this like when comments such as “all women are crazy” or “check her out” tempt me to throw my myself in the convo. It means saying no to myself when I want to give my mom a sarcastic reply. (I’m working on loving women as myself; LADIES: how a man treats his mom says a lot about how he will treat his wife). It looks like me not allowing my eyes to focus on a lady’s low-cut shirt or short skirt. (A man’s eyes will almost certainly go there, but God gives us the power to not let them dwell there). It looks like me unfollowing someone on twitter who says or retweets things that evoke images I don’t need, even if he/she is a Christian.
**I was dumbfounded by a girl on twitter retweeting something evocative that happened and adding that she was praying forever. Come on! She was fanning the fire! It’s the same to spread the news that way as it would’ve been otherwise; that, my friends, is being part of the problem.**
Anyway, it looks like me saying no to sitting around feeling sorry for my singleness and focusing that energy somewhere useful. Finally, it looks like me exiting out of a window or closing a book that won’t help me in my year long journey. *see: For Single Eyes Only…
That definitely isn’t an all encompassing list, but it’s a snapshot of what denying myself looks like for me.
What does denying self look like for you?