“And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’” Luke 9:23 NASB
Addiction controls a person. It controls your thoughts, actions, emotions, and attitude. Addiction has taken such a high role in your life that without it, you may feel lost or undefined. To not indulge is the hardest battle you have ever found yourself in. All of your energy and free time used to go into making a place for your addiction and now to stop indulging is harder than you ever imagined.
Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself…” Deny means to tell yourself no, plain and simple. When battling addiction, you have to learn how to reprogram the way that you think. All of the “yes’s” to sin have to now become solid, unmovable “no’s”. To deny yourself at this point goes against everything you’ve allowed into your life. It is imperative to tell yourself no and to be firm. You can’t entertain any thoughts about giving in. To deny yourself requires you to suit up in full armor and fight harder than you’ve ever fought before.
What I love about God, though, is that He doesn’t only tell us to deny ourselves, but he tells HOW to deny ourselves. You don’t have to say, “I’ve got to be clean from now until I die,” or “I can’t ever do ____ again.” Addicts have a hard time with long term commitments. Jesus says, “Take up [your] cross daily and follow me.” All that you have to offer Jesus is today. You can’t go back and you aren’t promised tomorrow, so all you have to offer Jesus is THIS DAY.
Today you can pledge to deny yourself. You can offer Jesus your thoughts, actions, emotions, attitudes and life just one day at a time. I used to keep a tally chart in the back of my journal and every day I was able to remain clean, I earned a tally mark. Sometimes the only reason I didn’t give in was because I knew I wanted another mark of cleanness in my life. How about you? Are you willing to deny yourself for one more mark of cleanness in your life?
Today God, I choose to deny myself. All I have is this one day. All I have is this one life and I freely give it to you. Today, I ask, that you give me your strength to help me deny myself and walk in your light. Today I will follow you. Today.