Matthew 16:24-26 – WHEN SELF-ESTEEM MET SELF-DENIAL

Posted: January 16, 2014 in Matthew, Matthew 16
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Matthew 16:24-26 – WHEN SELF-ESTEEM MET SELF-DENIAL

When Self-esteem met Self-denial. Image created by Ross Cochrane and Morguefile

When Self-esteem met Self-denial. Image created by Ross Cochrane and Morguefile

Recently a firm of reputable psychologists were looking to hire another partner and Selfishness applied. The interview went well and his résumé was impressive; in fact very convincing. Selfishness pointed out that his best-selling book “Be Selfish, Be Happy” is in great demand of late because everyone needs a “healthy selfishness” to drive them through life with passionate enthusiasm. His picture on the front cover didn’t look at all like him. It seems that the camera of psychological pursuit, when faced with the stark realities of our humanness, develops it’s images with Photoshop to arrive at the image it wants, inverting the colours and disguising the blurs at times. All the partners were so fascinated by his credentials, however, that they decided to try him out in the firm for a probationary period.

Self-esteem, Self-worth, Self-respect, Self-care and Self-nurturing, Partners in Psychology, have all worked well together for some time. They spark off each other in animated conversation and are able to laugh at themselves. They all belong to the same cycling club because they all believe that to show true care to others involves staying healthy themselves. They continually upgrade their own credentials and each has a Personal Development Plan (PDP) to motivate them in their successful business. The plaque on the waiting room door is from the Bible. It reads “Love your neighbor AS YOURSELF.” (Matthew 19:19 NLT).

At the time of his dismissal, Selfishness was continually placing his own wishes above the well-being of both the clients and the firm. When confronted by Self-Respect he made it clear that he did not need her advice. He went to his office muttering under his breath about never needing anyone. But he had to admit that Self-Respect had almost changed his mind. She startled him with her intelligence and beauty and he secretly hungered for her company more and more. His infatuation with her grew so much that he thought he would never be himself again.

Selfishness was asked to leave the firm. He foolishly made sexual advances to Self-Respect and it was discovered that he was having affairs with two of his clients, Self-interest and Egotism. The partners soon saw the shallowness of his ways. The cold manipulation of Selfishness takes rather than gives. The partners were not convinced that he was as healthy as he had declared. Selfishness decided to form his own company running one man shows and seminars.

Fortunately the partners soon hired a man who Jesus had recommended all along – “Self-denial”. Self-denial is not as popular as Selfishness, but he was trained by Integrity. As a committed Christian the first thing Self-denial did was to place a plaque above his desk which reads. Jesus says “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:24-28 NLT)

Although Self-denial is related to Self-love, there is no conflict of interest. He is often confused with Self-doubt because he seems so serious and your first impression of him may be that he is Negative because he was chosen above Selfishness, but once you get to know him you soon discover he lives life to the full. He has learned the value of thinking long-term. He chooses the interests of God above his own interests in order to show love to others and in turn to himself. He is healthy and athletic and inevitably wins races against Self-interest.

Self-denial has developed a wonderful mentoring role with Self-esteem, the daughter of Truth. He inspires her to see herself as God sees her, both in terms of her negative and positive behaviours. Self-esteem was mixing with Recognition, Social-acceptability, Status, and Appreciation, but inevitably found such friendships so fragile that they were easily lost. Self-denial says that we do not find Self-esteem from others or from ourselves but from God. Seeking after God enables us to find a true appraisal of ourselves, and to grow in maturity. It is not dependent on what others think about us.

Self-denial works closely with Self-evaluation, a consultant for the team; a valuable member who recognizes his own strengths and weaknesses, whereas Self denial encourages us to co-operate with God, and live beyond ourselves. Another favourite saying of Self-denial is Proverbs 3:5-7 (NLT) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil” 

What does Self-denial mean? Self-denial invites us to make an active commitment to turn away from Selfishness and Status-seeking and to make a deliberate, voluntary choice to follow Christ with a determined and unwavering resolve, no matter what the cost (Matthew 16:21). 

Pastor Ross

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Comments
  1. Well done, Ross. I love the allegory. God truly has blessed you with the awesome gift of writing, as well as with many other gifts (both spiritual and natural), and you use them well! God most definitely is getting the Glory from your totally surrendered and fully committed life. Many blessings to you, my brother . . . . .

    Like

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