© 1999 James A. Fowler

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I. Scriptures pertaining to "denying ourselves"

    A. Matt. 16:24; Mk. 8:34; Lk. 9:23- "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself,
         and take up his cross, and follow Me."

II. Suggested interpretations of "denying oneself"

    A. Disown yourself
    B. Renounce yourself, negate yourself
    C. Disregard yourself
    D. Repudiate yourself
    E. Berate yourself
    F. Hate yourself
    G. Reject yourself
    H. Abase yourself, castigate yourself, flagellate yourself, (Col. 2:23)
    I. Escape from yourself, abandon yourself
    J. Crucify yourself, execute yourself, die to yourself
    K. Disavow yourself, disbelieve or dispute reality of yourself
    L. Disallow yourself

III. Defining our "self"

    A. Personal identity - spiritual
    B. Personal individuality - psychological
    C. Personal embodiment - physical
    D. Personal interest - selfishness
    E. Personal resource - humanistic lie

IV. Which of these features of "self" are we to seek to "deny"?

    A. To deny personal identity would be to deny that we are a "new creature" identified with Jesus
    B. To deny our personal individuality would be to deny that we each have a unique patterning of
    C. To deny our personal embodiment would be to deny our physical existence as but an illusion.
    D. To deny personal interest would be to disallow selfish expressions in our behavior.
    E. To deny personal resource would be to reject the false humanistic assertion of self-potential.

V. What does it mean to "deny"?

    A. Popular English usage of "disavow."
         1. Mental or psychological denial - subjective attitude
         2. To be "in denial" is to refuse to admit the reality of, or to declare or disaffirm as untrue.
    B. Greek word arneomai best interpreted as "disallow."
         1. Volitional denial
         2. A choice to restrain or restrict, to suppress the expression of something.

VI. Common religious misunderstanding of "denying ourselves"

    A. Deny the need to "deny ourselves;" instead encourage to "affirm yourself" or "love yourself"
    B. Disavow your selfish "flesh" patternings; "you are a new creature in Christ; old things have
         passed away" (II Cor. 5:17); perfectionism.
    C. "Worm theology"; self-renunciation; suppressionism; (attempt to reverse Gal. 5:17).
    D. Dying to self; crucifying yourself; mortification of self.
         1. Which "self" do they seek to die to? (note III)
         2. Usually renouncing the "straw-man" of humanistic self-potential
         3. Misuse the following scriptures:
             a. Matt. 16:24; Mk. 8:34; Lk. 9:23 - "take up cross daily"
             b. Rom. 8:36 - "put to death all day long"
             c. I Cor. 15:31 - "I die daily"
             d. II Cor. 4:11 - "constantly delivered over to death"
             e. Phil. 3:10 - "conformed to His death"

VII. Understanding what it means to "deny ourselves"

    A. Necessitates the awareness and admission of our selfish tendencies patterned in the "flesh"
    B. Does not refer to a subjective, psychological denial, but a volitional denial whereby we
              choose to disallow the expressions of selfishness in our behavior.
          1. Titus 2:12 - "deny ungodliness and worldly desires"
          2. Phil. 2:3,4 - "do nothing from selfishness...do not look our for your own personal
    C. Denying ourselves is not a "work" of self-effort and performance whereby we overcome and
            get rid of the "flesh" - Gal. 5:17. Such is a denial of God's grace.
    D. Denying ourselves is part of the process of sanctification.



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