Matthew 16:24-25 (ESV)
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
We live in a day and age that everywhere we turn, there's a "self-help" theory. Books, videos and dvds, websites, world-renown speakers, you name it -- all dedicated to helping us "feel good about ourselves". Yet somehow, still many of us struggle with self-consciousness, even as Christians!
But here's something to consider. Did Jesus ever say "feel good about yourself"?? No. On the contrary, He said crucify yourself!
If we go around hating ourselves and even feeling condemnation over our faults and sins, what we are really doing is focusing on our self! My wife said a wise thing recently: self-consciousness is not God-consciousness! That about sums it up, I think. God doesn't want us focused on ourselves -- He wants us to be focused on Him!
It's when we die to our flesh, that the life we're living becomes the life He lives through us! If we crucify our self then there's no self to hate -- there's no self to condemn! We are free to serve the Lord and allow him to do great things through us!
Dear Lord, help us to die to flesh today so that You can use us in a mighty way. Help us to be faithful to You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.