Motives to Self-Denial

george-whitefieldGeorge Whitefield

PROCEED we therefore now to…offer some considerations, which may serve as so many motives to reconcile us to, and quicken us in, the practice of this duty of self-denial.

1. The first means I shall recommend to you, in order to reconcile you to this doctrine, is to meditate frequently on the life of our blessed Lord and Master Jesus Christ. Follow Him from His cradle to the cross, and see what a self-denying life He led! Shall we not drink of the cup that He drank of and be baptized with the baptism that He was baptized with? Or think we that Jesus Christ did and suffered everything in order to have us excused and exempted from sufferings? No, far be it from any sincere Christian to judge after this manner: for St. Peter tells us, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1Pe 2:21). Had Christ, indeed, like those that sat in Moses’ chair, laid heavy burdens of self-denial upon us, (supposing they were heavy, which they are not) and refused to touch them Himself with one of His fingers, we might have had some pretense to complain. […]

By | December 6th, 2013|Christian Life, Herald, Self-Denial|

Self-Denial Defined

Wilhelmus à Brakel

SELF-DENIAL is a Christian virtue, granted by God to His children, whereby they, out of love for God’s will, neither give heed nor yield to their intellect, will, and inclinations insofar as they are in opposition to the will of God—and oppose and suppress them instead. They do so by a voluntary forsaking and rejection of all that pertains to their natural well-being, if God’s cause demands such from them. This [is] to the honor of God and the welfare of their neighbors.

Self-denial is, first, a Christian virtue. Pagans have observed that their inner peace has been disturbed by their lusts. Some therefore sought to extinguish them by way of reason and appeared to practice self-denial regarding some things. However, it did not issue forth from the right motive—love for the will of God. They did not have the right objective in view, but rather it was a seeking of self (be it in a different manner from others), resting in this as their peace and seeking to be honored by men. Their self-denial was thus a splendid sin that had a counterfeit luster and was not accompanied by deeds.
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By | December 6th, 2013|Christian Life, Herald, Self-Denial|