Mark 8:34 34And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] ……..
Now that we understand the importance of denying ourselves, let’s look at the areas of our lives to put it into practice. The first place is in our minds. Everything we do, every word we say, every action we take is proceeded by a thought. If I go get a Diet Dr. Pepper out of the fridge and start drinking it, it’s because I first thought I was thirsty. If I call my mom on the phone to have a chat, it’s because I started thinking about her and wanted to talk. It is impossible to do anything without acting upon a thought. Contrary to what we may think (no pun intended) we do not have the right to think whatever we want. If our thoughts are not lining up with the word of God we have no business thinking them. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us 5[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),
This scripture tells us that we have to make sure every thought we have is in obedience to Christ. Obviously we cannot help the thoughts that pop into our minds, but what we see here is that we do have the capability to take our thoughts captive, and if they are not in accordance to the Word we have to discard them. Thoughts only turn into actions after they’ve been meditated on, so although a wrong thoughts may come, we still have the capability to stop those thoughts from manifesting.
I’ll give you a practical example (theoretical of course :)) Let’s say that I am talking on the phone with my husband one morning and he says something that I don’t like. The thought comes that I’m mad at him. I start thinking about how he really hurt my feelings and how I’m really upset with him. All day, I continue to think about how he didn’t say the right thing to me, and meditate on how I have every right to be angry with him. Later on when he walks in the door, I’m going to be pretty worked up, and either be so mad I’m not talking to him, or so mad I talk a little too much, and say some things to cause a great big argument! When the thought first came, how I didn’t care for the way he spoke to me, I had two choices. One- to grab hold of it and run with it, or Two- although he hurt my feelings to do what it says in Matthew 18:21-22 21Then Peter came up to Him and said, Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I forgive him and [let it go? [As many as] up to seven times? 22Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven!- forgive and let it go. My flesh won’t want to let go. It will want to be offended, to wallow in the way he made me feel. However, if I choose to deny my flesh I’ll take the thought captive and say ,”Yes he offended me but I choose to forgive him” When he gets home later, because I have chosen to conform to God’s way, I will have peace in my home. When you put it like that, it doesn’t really even seem like a valid choice does it? My way ending in strife and division, or God’s way ending in peace and harmony.
It may be a struggle to lead your thoughts in the right direction, but I challenge you to try it. The next time you think something today, ask yourself, “does that line up with the Word?” I found this verse in Proverbs 16:3 Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed. When we commit ourselves to the Lord and give Him free reign in every area of our lives, He will make our thoughts line up with His and that is what ultimately will cause us to be successful.