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The Law of Self-Denial

The Law of Self-Denial

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. W. M. CLOW, B.D.



"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 ix. 23.
BY REV. W. M. CLOW, B.D.



"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 ix. 23.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 31, 2013
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THE LAW OF SELF-DEIALBY REV. W. M. CLOW, B.D."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 ix. 23.I HAVE seen the face of a high-souled and sensitiveteacher colour with the deep flush of a young girlin her moment of keen feeling when he was compelled to censure a slothful student. The face of Christ was flushed with pain when He uttered Hiswords of rebuke to Peter, " Get thee behind Me,Satan." Jesus did not love to utter reproach. Hisusual method of rebuke was by a silent look. Forthat reason He turns at once from the ashamed manand begins to speak to them all. He will no longeremphasise his fault. And He is well aware thatthe mind which was in Peter was in all his fellow-disciples, and would require to be purged out of every man who would come after Him. He laysdown that law of self-denial which is the primarylaw of the Cross.The Christian life presents itself in a full-orbedteaching under two contrasting aspects. In one9 6THE LAW OF SELF-DEIAL 97aspect it is a life of liberty in Christ. It is thecoming into full and lovely flower of the wholenature of man. Its key-word is not repression, but
 
expression. Its method is culture, not restraint.Christ has come to give us life, " life more abundantly." It is a call to walk in the Spirit, and to livein that kingdom whose delights are righteousnessand peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Augustinestates this truth in his great saying, " The Christianlaw is to love, and to do as you please." But inthe other aspect it presents itself not as a libertybut as a captivity, not as a self-abandonment but asa self-control, not as an easy yoke but as a sternand ceaseless struggle. This contrast is to be foundon every page of the ew Testament. It is setdown clearly in Christ s teaching, and it is illuminatedby His life.A scrutiny of our own experience will lead us tosee that both of these aspects blend into one. It isnot the contrast between the Greek and the Hebrewideals of conduct as they struggle in bewilderedminds. It is not the opposition between the asceticand Puritan view of duty and that of a moregracious and more generous outlook on life. It isthe universal Christian experience. This law of self-denial is laid upon us in the first step wetake when we begin to follow Christ. To a youngbeliever Christ s words come as the call to enter astrait gate and to walk in a narrow way. Hiscommand is to leave all, rise up, and follow Him.79 8 THE SECRET OF THE LORDMany of His words are stern with rigorous forbiddingto the eager disciple. All through life demand afterdemand is made upon him, and all of these mortifyand sometimes crucify the self within him. But ashe yields himself in a loving obedience he findsthat Christ s commandments are not grievous. He
 
realises that what was imposed on him as a restraint becomes the easy habit of his life and thefelicity of his soul. He learns that God works inhim, both to will and to do of His good pleasure,and the only hours of vexing grief are those inwhich God s pleasure is not his own. Like Paul,he writes himself down, in moods of rapture, " thebond-slave of Jesus Christ," and he finds Christ sservice to be perfect freedom. evertheless, solong as we are what we are, even when we havebeen born again of God s Spirit, so long as we aretainted and tinctured with sin, tempted through oursenses, living in a world of sorrow and fear and pain,we shall find that self-control is an hourly necessity.So long as we are in the body, and we must minglewith men and women whose faces ensnare us, whosewords provoke us, whose conduct so often vexes andhumbles us, we shall find that the law of self-denialremains the law of all those who are coming afterChrist. Our peace is found in accepting it. Ourliberty is gained when we find the yoke so easy thatthe burden is light.Let me make this law clear by considering twopoints. Look, in the first place, at the spheres of THE LAW OF SELF-DE]the law of self-denial; and, in the secorH^lace^aJ: *the penalty of its refusal.I. In the first place : the spheres of the law of self-denial.We must, to begin with, deny ourselves in thesphere of our natural appetites. There are appetiteswhich are God-given, and, when wisely indulged, are

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