Deny Yourself!?!

After all the great talk on mental health we’ve had over last few weeks, I want to say one more thing that may be even more controversial, yet doesn’t at all nullify what we’ve already discussed…if we put this in context…

Jesus also said, “DENY YOURSELF!”

So many people are afraid of repressing their emotions. And, everyone is so concerned with being honest with the “real crap.”

And, there are some important truths to that. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes we really do need to discuss some things with a a trusted friend, be open in therapy, be honest with ourselves, and learn that we don’t have to hide wounds or feelings! That’s powerful stuff!! When we can be open and honest, we feel free!

However, there IS a reason why finished works believers have felt a tension with the therapy, counsel, and mental health side of things!

The message of the cross is that our old self, the one that was never really us to begin with; it died with Christ! It actually died. It really is no longer around!!!

And, I can say this… THE GREATEST FREEDOM I’VE EVER EXPERIENCED was when I DENIED that old self any acknowledgement of existence at all! It was when I realized that Jesus had actually accomplished something for me thousands of years ago!

Some may feel like this is fake. But, who you are in Christ IS ACTUALLY REAL. It IS honest!

The moments where I am actually aware that I’m completely whole, as Jesus Christ is now; it’s in those moments where I feel the most whole and authentically free!

This doesn’t mean that we should ever feel shame about needing medical help or therapy. Never!

At the same time, let’s not plug ourselves back into thinking that the broken areas we feel are the truest thing about us!

When someone asks me, “How are you?” It’s actually become a reminder to me, in my head, I always say, “Man, I’m as blessed as Jesus Himself, co-resurrected, co-seated with Him in heavenly bliss, with my Glory goggles on right now, LOL!”

Sometimes we encounter contradictions that we can’t explain. Sometimes those require specific treatments. Or, sometimes these contradictions can be legitimately disappointing, and it’s ok to feel that!

However, I am convinced that most of the time, a simple re-orientation with the ultimate Truth of who we are in Christ is more than enough to live stable lives of overall bliss!

I call this ‘taking thoughts captive by the Gospel.’ And, it includes a healthy denial of self.

The current culture, at least in media and universities and the like, it is often pointing everyone back to SELF. But, there is no real freedom with self as our ultimate reference!

On the flip side, there is no freedom in beating our self up either, as religion often attempts to do!

Jesus gave us a much HIGHER reference!

Your thoughts and feelings aren’t bad! However, they also aren’t always based in reality. If you had a bad week, you’re not broken! If you have some challenging habits, it doesn’t mean you need pharmaceuticals!

You might need some professional help at some time. Be open to that. You may need some support. It’s a beautiful thing to recognize when we need help. And, we all do at times!

But, you also may just need to stop looking to your thoughts and emotions as your reference!

Most of the time our negative thought patterns and habits are coming from focusing on something less than the truth! (I’m NOT talking about significant medical conditions here, I’m talking about the common concerns and patterns of everyday life.)

It may just be time to return to an awareness of Jesus Chris Himself, and His Truth of love and wholeness given to you by His passionate death and resurrection!

“We are complete in Him!”

Self love can slip over into self-focus, sometimes even selfish-ness!

Deny yourself.
It’s not what we thought it meant.

It liberates us to a much fuller life!

Jesus Christ is the truth about you!

And, Jesus takes so much better care of you than you do!

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