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29. The Denial of Self (Romans 15:1-13)

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Abstract

We are each born with an instinct toward self-preservation. Because of the fall, the instinct to “preserve ourselves” has changed to an instinct to “please ourselves.” We clamor to get to the front of the line; we battle for the biggest piece of the pie; we strain to end up on top. We compete to win, and cause others to lose by definition.

As is often the case, the Bible calls Christians to live unnaturally in this area. Instead of pleasing ourselves, we are told to bear one another’s failings. Instead of being served, we are commanded to serve. Instead of gratifying our flesh, we are instructed to deny ourselves such gratification. And the moment we are tempted to cry “unfair!”—we have only to look upon Christ. Though rightly deserving of gratification, service, and pleasing Himself, the King of kings became a Servant of servants for our sake. He modeled what it means to truly live unnaturally by living supernaturally. Who are we to think we are above such a life of service if the King has modeled it for us?

Related Topics: Spiritual Life