Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 26, 2021


“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.”  Matthew 16:24

Back in the 1970s and 80s, the lemon-lime soda brand 7UP had a very popular tagline that immediately boosted sales of the fledgling pop: The uncola. The marketing firm that came up with the campaign pitted its light flavor and lack of caffeine against the opposing qualities of the very popular cola brands. Coke and Pepsi were the standard—still are, really. (In fact, 7UP has all but faded away to its lemon-lime competitors like Sprite.)

This fun fact came to mind when I was thinking about Jesus’ words to His disciples, found in three of the four Gospels: “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24, Luke 9:23; Mark 8:34). Can there be any stronger words than these in direct contradiction to our “me” culture?  From the self-love (self-esteem) movement to ubiquitous social media selfies, “What’s in it for me?” seems to be the bottom-line modus operandi for most people these days. But, here, Jesus is exhorting us to “unself” living.

Did you know, sister, that love of self is the first rule of Satan? When we seek to fill our lives with pleasures of the flesh and earthly pursuits, our focus will remain on ourselves. Our enemy loves that. And self-obsession makes a natural progression to pride, which precariously teeters on the edge of a big fall—Satan knows that, because he lived that outcome. (Self-obsession can also take a darker turn into depression—either way, Satan will be doing a happy dance.) I can almost see his mouth drooling as he watches us stomp our feet to get things “our way” and, to that end, turn to people, things, social media, and substances (and even to hatred and vitriolic divisiveness) to attempt to meet that need.

But when we accept the free gift of salvation—the finished work of Jesus that paid the full price for our redemption—it’s not about us anymore. We no longer live in the flesh, for ourselves. We live, by faith, for the Son of God who loved us so much that He gave Himself for us, dying and rising again in victory on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 2:20; John 3:16). In response to being made a new creation, completely righteous in God’s eyes, we surrender to His will for our lives. (Note, sweet friends, that pursuing God’s will versus our wants is not to “earn” God’s love—it’s our response to being made His child.)

When we are emptied of self, we can be filled with (surrendered to) the Holy Spirit, Who is given to us at the moment of salvation to live in us as our promise, counselor, and guide. This results in a fruity life (check out Galatians 5:22-23)! And when we come to the end of ourselves, our precious Lord can use us in big ways to serve others for His glory and be a light pointing to Him. And our dark, selfish world can definitely use more “unself” right now.

“Lord, help me to daily empty myself of “me-ness” and surrender more fully to You. Let my life reflect less of me and more of You.”

For His Glory

Julianne Winkler Smith
TRBC Women’s Life





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