No one likes being last. It means standing
on your tiptoes and straining your neck for
a decent view, or getting dirt in your eyes
from everyone climbing the ladder ahead of
you. It could mean crossing the finish line
hours after everyone else, with only your
mother there to cheer you on. It can be
inconvenient and feel humiliating.
In spite of that, you do not have to read the
Bible for very long before noticing a major
theme: deny thyself. Every story, poem,
parable and letter bound in this Book
whisper, Deny thyself. I suspect this is the
reason the Bible is excluded from the New
York Times Best Sellers list and has never
been decorated with an Oprah’s Book Club
sticker. The rejection of all things “I” is
“You are the most important person in your
life,” society insists. “Never help others if it
hurts yourself.” Indeed, it’is easy to see how
a belief system that doesn’t put self first,
but dead last, is strikingly unpopular. God
calls us to not only shift “self” down a couple
slots on the priority list, but erase it entirely.
And so we begrudgingly assume our spot
at the back of the line. We grit our teeth
and play the Good Samaritan, wash our
brother’s feet and avoid mirrors lest we
fail at forgetting about ourselves. Yet in
our attempt to love others, instead we
often make the mistake of simply hating
ourselves. We understand our role in
bringing light to others, all the while
insisting upon the necessity of the dark
cloud, which looms above our own heads.
Somehow, we have misinterpreted God’s
call to selflessness as a punishment for
sin rather than a privilege allowed by
His grace. Not only is it tragic, but this
misconception is also harmful to the
Christian walk. If our own self-denial is
seen as a chore and a punishment, we will
view Jesus’ act of self-denial on the cross
as a chore and punishment, rather than a
display of passionate love.
In Matthew 16: 25 Jesus states that,
“Whoever wants to save their life will lose it,
but whoever loses their life for me will find
it.” This is not an appeal to a life of empty
misery, but rather a loving call to perfection.
Denying ourselves does not mean losing our
sense of identity or self-esteem; instead it
is the means through which we achieve our
true identity and esteem.
Beautiful is the paradox that life can only
be found once it has first been lost, and
wondrous is the promise that in stooping
to lift others, we also rise.
What’s Katrina’s favourite Bible verse?
Romans 11: 36
For from Him and to Him and for Him are
all things. To Him be the glory forever!
“WE GRIT OUR TEETH
AND PLAY THE
Described as peace seeker, resilient, and human