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In Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, and take up their cross and follow me.”

What exactly did Jesus mean when he said that his disciples must deny themselves? For lent I have been reading Walter Brueggemann’s book A Way other than Our Own: Devotions for Lent. In one of his devotions he writes:

“The call to discipleship is not a program to make us feel bad or impoverished or uncomfortable. Or pressed more deeply, to deny self is taken too often to mean you should have some self-hate, feel bad about yourself, ponder your failure and your guilt, and reject your worth. But that is surely not what Jesus is talking about.

 “The alternative to self-focus is to move one’s attention away from self to know that our life is safely and well held by God, who loves us more than we love ourselves, to relish the generosity of God and so to be free of the anxieties and needs and hungers of those who are driven by a mistaken, inadequate sense of self. The self who is denied is the self who is received from God and given back to God in obedience and praise.”

Good words to consider during this time of lent.

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