[b]There are nails in that cross![/b](Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)"If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me." Luke 9:23Self-denial is the highest sign of a sincere Christian.Hypocrites may have great knowledge and make largeprofessionbut it is only the true-hearted believer whocan deny himself for Christ.Self-denial is the foundation of godliness, and if thisfoundation is not well-laid, the whole building will fall.If there is any lust in our souls which we cannot denyit will turn at length, either to scandal or apostasy.Self-denial is the thread which must run along throughthe whole work of piety.A man must deny self-esteem. Every man by naturehas a high opinion of himself. He is drunk with spiritualpride. A proud man disdains the cross. He thinks himselftoo good to suffer. Oh deny self-esteem! Let the plumesof pride fall off! Let us shake off this viper of pride!A man must deny carnal self. This I take to be thechief sense of the text. He must deny fleshly ease.The flesh cries out for ease. It is loath to put its neckunder Christ's yoke or stretch itself upon the cross. Theflesh cries out, "Oh! the cross of Christ is heavy! Thereare nails in that cross which will lacerate, and fetchblood!" We must deny our self-ease, and be as a deafadder, stopping our ears to the charmings of the flesh!Those who lean on the soft pillow of sloth, will hardlytake up the cross.This self-denying frame of heart is very hard. This is "topluck out the right eye." It is easier to overcome men anddevils, than to overcome self. "Stronger is he who conquershimself, than he who conquers the strongest walled city."SELF is the idol, and how hard it is to sacrifice this idol,and to turn self-seeking into self-denial! But though it isdifficultit is essential. A Christian must first lay downselfbefore he can take up the cross.Alas! how far are they from self-denialwho cannot denythemselves in the least things; who in their diet or apparel,instead of martyring the fleshpamper the flesh! Instead oftaking up the crosstake up their cups! Is this self-denialto let loose the reins to the flesh? Oh Christians, as ever youwould be able to carry Christ's cross, begin to deny yourselves."Everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters orfather or mother or children or property, for My sake, willreceive a hundred times as much in return and will haveeternal life!" Matthew 19:29. Here is a very choice bargain!
_________________SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
It is easier to overcome men anddevils, than to overcome self.
[color=CC0000]"SELF is the idol, and how hard it is to sacrifice this idol,"[/color]How true that we cannot pick up the emblem of HIS suffering and shame for our sakes, if we do not first lay down the idol of self.