“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
Truly following Christ calls for not just shunning sin, Satan and the world, but denying SELF. We all have an innate selfishness we must crucify (Rom 8:13). We must recognise this obstacle to spiritual growth in all its guises. For instance, defensiveness can often be an indication of a prideful heart. A huge need to protect one’s reputation at any cost often betrays a self-centred mentality. Brethren, we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously! Secondly, being overly critical can also signal one’s egocentric attitude. If you find it easier to criticise others than to commend them, you may be suffering from acute selfishness. Thirdly, paranoia, the mistaken notion that people around you dislike or want to harm you, often also indicates an inflated ego. Genuine persecution happens, but you mustn’t suspect that everybody is jealous of you and is out to get you. Be humble enough to accept that you can’t please everybody. Let us give up selfish interests, crucify the flesh and follow Jesus closely. Then watch yourself grow in leaps and bounds!