– is a restraint or limitation of one’s own desires or interests – Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary.
– is the deliberate refusal to satisfy one’s desires, as a method of disciplining oneself or making it possible to help others – New Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus of the English Language.
– is the practice of refusing to satisfy one’s own immediate desires and interests, especially from a moral or religious motive – Collier’s Dictionary.
Rom. 14:7-9; 2 Cor. 5:15; 1 Cor. 6:19-20 Why shouldn’t a Christian live for him/herself and do whatever he/she wants to do with/in his or her life?
Realizing that because Jesus died for and bought us Christians with His shed blood on the cross so that He’s now our Lord/Boss/Master, have you set aside your personal, self-centered goals, desires, and interests (which can include your career choice, educational pursuits, marital status, how you spend the money and time God has entrusted you with, etc.) in order to live in obedience to Him, according to what the Bible teaches, and why?
If not, what do you plan to do about it, and why?
Mk. 8:34-36 What three requirements did Jesus state for a person to come after Him (follow as/be His disciple, Mk. 1:16-20)?
Are you denying “self/yourself” (decisively/firmly saying “no” to self-centered interests and desires; turning away from the idolatry/worship of self/self-centeredness and every attempt to orient your life by the dictates of self-interest or self-desire; die to self/selfish interests and desires) in order to follow Christ as His disciple (to imitate His character, values, priorities, and purpose in life, which is to seek and save the spiritually lost, Lk. 19:10; Mk. 1:17), and why?
[To deny “self” does not mean to deny yourself of things, like ice cream, but rather to deny “self-centeredness”.].
And are you taking up your cross (be willing to suffer or be rejected by people and even to physically die for Christ) in order to follow Christ as His disciple/pupil/imitator, and why?
Finally, are you and will you continually and daily say “no” to self and be willing to suffer and even die for Christ, and why?
The person who wishes to save his soul-life (the invisible, immaterial you by maintaining a self-centered life in this world) will lose it (to eternal ruin). On the other hand, the person who loses his soul-life (by dying to self, the self-centered life and in loyalty/devotion to and) for Christ and the gospel will save his soul-life (forever with God, Jn. 12:25).
Which one have you chosen, and why?
What benefit is there to gaining the whole world (in obtaining all your self-centered interests and desires) only to forfeit your soul-life (to eternal ruin)?
Mk. 1:16-21; 2:14; 10:28-30 What did Simon/Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Levi/Matthew do when Jesus told them to follow him?
What did Jesus say He’d make them into by following Him, Mk. 1:17?
Are you willing to leave your family, school, career/job, home, in fact, everything in order to follow Christ and His purpose of evangelizing the spiritually lost (Lk. 19:10), so you can learn and become an evangelizer of people too?
Will you make yourself available by denying self, leaving everything, and asking a Christ-like Christian to teach and train you to be an evangelizer of spiritually lost people, and why?
Lk. 14:25-26 Unless a person hates/detests his or her own life (in comparison to his/her love for Christ), what can’t he/she be?
Is your love for and loyalty to Christ so great/supreme that in comparison your love for yourself (self-preservation) appears as if you hated yourself?
What did a person have to give up in order to be Christ’s disciple/trainee, Lk. 14:33?
Because Jesus constantly traveled and didn’t have a home of his own, anyone who wanted to be a disciple/follower of His couldn’t take anything with him, as there was no place to put things nor any way to constantly carry things as they would get in the way and become a hindrance to the ministry.
Are you willing to give up any and all of your possessions in order to be a disciple/trainee of a Christ-like Christian leader, if the training does not allow for or have the facilities for them, and why?
Acts 20:22-24; 21:13
Even though the Holy Spirit told Paul that chains/bonds and affliction/suffering/persecution awaited him by going to Jerusalem, what was Paul’s attitude about his life, and why (Acts 20:24)?
Are you willing to deny “self” by being willing to suffer and even die, if need be, in the process of evangelizing the spiritually lost for Christ, and why?
1 Cor. 8:4-13; Rom. 14:14-15, 20-21; 15:1
Whom does the Christian exist for and through (8:6)?
Because we exist for God and through Jesus Christ, the Lord, we should refrain from doing anything that might cause a less biblically-knowledgeable Christian to violate his/her conscience by our participating in something that he/she thinks is morally wrong to do, even though, in actuality, it’s not morally wrong to do (like eating meat that had been sacrificed to an idol).
For example, some Christians might be tempted to do any of the following things if they see you (a more biblically-knowledgeable Christian) doing it but for which they believe it’s morally wrong to do, even though it may not be (e.g., drinking any amount of alcohol, smoking a cigarette, attending a movie theater, eating pork or any meat, any type of dancing, etc.).
What did Paul say he would do if food (offered to idols) caused/encouraged a weaker (less biblically knowledgeable) Christian to stumble/sin, and why?
Are you willing to deny “self” by refraining from doing anything that the weaker Christian might be tempted to do that he thinks is morally wrong, so that he’s not spiritually ruined, and why?
Matt. 19:12 Why do some men choose to be (make themselves) eunuchs (single, not married)?
What should the man do who is able to accept the single role in order to further the kingdom of heaven (God’s salvation program on earth) more devotedly by not having marital distractions and responsibilities/concerns (1 Cor. 7:32-35)?
Are you accepting this ideal role, and why?
1 Cor. 9:6-15, 18 Paul and Barnabas denied themselves by not telling the Corinthian Christians to financially and/or materially support them, even though Paul and Barnabus had the right as full-time missionaries and evangelizers to be financially supported by the Corinthians. So, Paul and Barnabas had to work and support themselves at times in order to carry on their missionary work (1 Cor. 9:6; Acts 20:33-35).
Why didn’t they tell the Corinthians to support them, 1 Cor. 9:12?
How might the gospel be hindered by Paul telling them to financially support Barnabas and him (2 Cor. 6:3; 11:12-13)?
If you’re a full-time missionary, are you willing to deny “self” by not telling the people, you’ve led to Christ or have taught the Bible to, that they should financially support you, so that the gospel isn’t hindered, and why?
[In most cases, it’s proper to teach those you minister to that it’s their God-given responsibility to financially support the person ministering to them full-time, 1 Cor. 9:7-11; 2 Cor. 11:8; Gal. 6:6.].
2 Tim. 2:3-4 What does a good soldier/Christian in active service not do, so that he may please the one/Jesus who enlisted him?
If you plan to be a good soldier/Christian, then you need to not get entangled/absorbed/caught up in civilian life/affairs (e.g., pursuing money, materialism, climbing the career/job ladder, sports-mania, etc.).
Will you deny “self”, so that you can be a good/devoted Christian, and why?
Titus 2:11-12 The grace/favor of God brought to all (kinds/classes/types/groups of) people instructs these believers to deny what?
As we saw in 2 Cor. 5:15, 1 Cor. 6:19-20, and Rom. 14:7-9, Christians are not their own any more; they belong to Christ. He’s their Lord/Master/Boss/Owner, and because of that, Christians are to live for Him, not themselves. Therefore, Christians are to deny/die to “self” and not pursue or even desire worldly things (e.g., prestige, position, wealth, power, materialism, fame, etc.).
Are you denying worldly desires, and why?
If not, what will you do about it, and why?