Deny Yourself and Follow God’s Law

Warning: This is an accountability post. It is not meant to judge or condemn but to challenge you in your walk.

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I recently read a post on Grace to You that features a video of John MacArthur. The post talks about the question of why Christians should have to follow God’s law if we are covered by grace. After all, we are saved and that is forever so nothing we do can take that away. MacArthur, as usual, offers invaluable wisdom on the topic and I encourage you to read the post and watch the short video.

I want to discuss why this question would even come up. Why would a Christian desire to NOT follow God’s law knowing that doing otherwise is displeasing to Him? This mentality is something has confused me over the years since becoming a Christian, especially when I was a new Christian. Everything I have learned about being a Christian says that it is Christ who lives in me, not me.

Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24) He said if you want Him, you have to “deny” yourself. Isn’t that the ultimate goal here? To want Him and be with Him for all eternity? This is what brings joy. Seeking to find ways around Him will, at best, bring only temporary happiness, but at what cost?

Disclaimer: I am not perfect. I do not claim to be perfect. I am a sinner. I sometimes seek worldly pleasures against my Father’s will.

Now that we have that out there let me tell you that my desire is to follow God’s law. It never crosses my mind to NOT follow His law just because I am covered by grace.

    Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. ~Romans 3:31

I spend my life trying to follow His law to please Him. And when I mess up, I am on my knees begging forgiveness because the last thing I want to do is hurt my relationship with God. Given the love I have for my Savior, Jesus Christ, I honestly cannot fathom trying to find ways around following His law. Who does that? Apparently many people do.

Our world is obsessed with “self”…

What makes me happy? What’s in it for me?

What can you do for me? Is it worth my time?

While on the surface, that seems like a healthy attitude to have, after all, we are taught that you have to take care of yourself first; you have to do what makes you happy. If you deny your needs and desires in our society, you are viewed as weak. Take a look at any bookstore in this country, you are sure to see many self-help books that focus on you and the importance of you. And I am not just talking about secular bookstores, as it wouldn’t take long for you to find these books on a Christian bookstore shelf.

I want to challenge Christians to step back and see the fault in this way of thinking. I have spent many of my 39 years on this world seeking the things that make me happy. All I ever gained from that was temporary happiness. I want to encourage you to end your quest for happiness and self and begin seeking JOY. The kind of joy that no one can take away.

Joy is not temporary, joy is not something you get from worldly things. Joy is what you get when you stop looking for the things you think will make you happy and start looking to Him and His plan for your life. It is His desire to fill us with true joy!

…that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.  ~Matthew 15:11

 The moment I stopped putting my happiness in the hands of this world was the moment I found JOY in HIM! Yes, I have days where I lose sight of this and think that temporary happiness will fulfill me, but in the end, it doesn’t last. When I seek Him and His plan for my life, I find myself in a state of joy, real joy that is constant and fulfilling and everlasting!

Going back to Matthew 16, Jesus didn’t say, “You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else.” Or “Do what makes you happy.” He told us to deny ourselves if we want to follow Him.

So, please stop trying to find ways around Him and His plan for your life just so you can be happy. Yes, we are covered by grace. No, it is not okay to NOT follow His laws because of that. To even ask the question, is selfish and self-destructive. To NOT follow His laws is taking advantage of His grace and as a Christian that is the last thing you should want to do.


About Heidi S.

I spend my days growing and learning with my boys and my nights as a freelance writer and editor. I am an all-around frugal mom, always looking for ways to be a better steward with the things God has blessed us with. I am married to my high school sweetheart and have three boys - ages 14, 11, and 9. Our homeschool style is very eclectic...Charlotte Mason to classical to traditional, you will find a little bit of everything on our bookshelves.
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