Tuesday, September 2, 2008

When denial is really delight

By anyone's measure, Moses was a man who lived a life of sacrifice for others. From the decision to leave Pharaoh's palace and identify with the people of Israel, to leading this same (often stiff-necked) people into the wilderness, Moses' life was one of self-denial for the sake of others. Hebrews 11:24-25 give us insight into the extent of his self-denial:

"By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. (Hebrews 11:24-25)

One could easily imagine a dour ascetic grumbling through the desert with moans of self-righteous self-pity; "Look at all I sacrifice to serve God and His people!" And yet that's not what we see in Moses' life. His motivation came from deeper places:

"He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward." (Hebrews 11:26)

No, it wasn't duty that drove Moses' denial – it was delight! He considered any suffering and reproach to be greater wealth than the treasures he turned his back on. He wasn't losing a reward; he was gaining a better one!

We are also called to deny ourselves to follow Christ and serve others. What kind of reward makes denying ourselves to serve God's people a delight? Let me suggest these:

1. The delight of pleasing our Father through our service.

2. The delight of knowing we are a help to those we love.

3. The delight of increased intimacy with Christ through our service.

4. The delight of one day hearing "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

There is nothing that you give up for Christ that you don't get back, multiplied ten-fold or more!

The Bottom Line: If denial causes you to grumble – it's all about you. If denial causes you delight – it's all about him!

From the well-wisher of your soul's happiness,

Pastor Tom

No comments: