Matthew 16:24 – Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (KJV)
One sport that I enjoy playing a great deal is tennis. I have been playing for about fourteen years now, and I enjoy the game more and more with each passing year. As the years go by, I would like to think that my game has improved. While I am not as fast as I once was, I believe that my hitting has gotten better, because I have learned that you must keep your eye on the ball. You cannot watch your opponent or the court. You must watch the ball all the way, if you want to hit well. There are still times when I do not watch the ball, but then, one of a few things usually happens: (1) I hit the ball into the net; (2) I hit the ball out of bounds; or (3) I hit the ball out of the court area.
The scripture for today has always been one of those verses that has been thought-provoking to me. I have struggled somewhat with the phrase "deny himself". What does this mean for us? I have come to learn that one perspective on this phrase means "focus". We are to be focused on Christ and not on ourselves, our desires, or wants. By not focusing on those desires, we do deny ourselves. Our focus is to remain on what Christ has done for us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we give you thanks and praise for what your Son has done for us. May we never lose our focus on that sacrifice and what it means to us. May you give us strength and guidance to deny ourselves and live our lives for you. In Jesus' name. Amen.