Does God love us more when we deny ourselves chocolate? Or raspberry ice cream? Or long, delicious afternoons in the backyard hammock?
Ask some people of faith, and they’ll say “Yes”—and quote Jesus as the proof: “If any want to become My followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.”
But this is the same Jesus who went to weddings and banquets, laughed easily and often, spent afternoons playing with children, and frequently withdrew from the hectic pace of serving others to be renewed by peace and prayer and greenery.
What needs denying—every day, in every way—isn’t the rightful enjoyment of life in the body for which we were created. It’s the ultimately ungodly idea that we can save ourselves, redeem ourselves, or work our way back into God’s favor by things we do—or don’t. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8).
Grace is all about deeper, joyful living. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:9). That fuller life awaits you. Claim it now.
And stay in grace. -Bill Knott