Jesus once said, “If any man desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24 NKJV).
Thus, discipleship demands self-denial. That means putting God above emotions when we must choose between God and family. It means putting God before self when we really want to do something that God forbids. Self-denial means willingly obeying a command of God though we do not see why it should be necessary. In this sense, self-denial is human sacrifice. It is self offered to God on the altar of unconditional obedience. Regarding this idea, Paul emphatically stated:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God. which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1 NKJV).
All Christians must first offer themselves to God in simple obedience. We must love God enough, trust him so completely, submit our will to His will so thoroughly, and anchor ourselves in hope so securely that we will do anything He says — simply because He says it.
The apostle Paul made this commitment of self-denial:
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20 NKJV).
As followers of Christ, we must be willing to crucify self. The question is, “Are we willing?”