Self-denial– thoughts from John Piper

The response of Jesus indicates that the way to think about self-denial is to deny yourself only a lesser good for a greater good.

John Piper

John Piper

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time,…and in the age to come… Mark 10:28-30

If you give up the sense of at-homeness you had in your house, you get back one hundred times the comfort and security of knowing that your Lord owns every house and land and stream and tree on earth…

What was Jesus’ attitude to Peter’s sacrificial” spirit?  Peter said, “We have left everything and followed you.”  Is this spirit of “self-denial” commended by Jesus?  No…Jesus says, “No one ever sacrifices anything for me which I do not pay back a hundredfold…”  Why does Jesus rebuke Peter for thinking in terms of sacrifice?  Jesus himself had demanded “self-denial” (Mark 8:34).  The reason seems to be that Peter did not yet think about sacrifice (correctly)…

How is that?

The response of Jesus indicates that the way to think about self-denial is to deny yourself only a lesser good for a greater good.

John Piper, author of Desiring God...and many other books!

John Piper, author of Desiring God...and many other books!

If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”…

Jesus…does not ask us to be indifferent…On the contrary, he assumes that the very longing for true life (I Peter 3:10) will move us to deny ourselves all the lesser pleasures and comforts of life.

The measure of your longing for life is the amount of comfort you are willing to give up to get it.  The gift of eternal life in God’s presence is glorified if we are willing to “hate our lives in this world” in order to get it (John 12:25).  Therein lies the God-centered value of self-denial.

Excerpts from Desiring God, pages 202, 203

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