Richard Foster on Denying Self

Here are some pretty potent, challenging words of Richard Foster in line with Jesus’ call that, to follow him, we are to deny ourselves and take up our cross.

We must be more precise, more concrete about this matter of holy obedience. Otherwise it will remain forever a pious-sounding theoretical ideal that does not much affect the way we live. Meister Eckhart wrote, “There are plenty to follow our Lord half-way, but not the other half. They will give up possessions, friends, and honors, but it touches them too closely to disown themselves.” As we cross over the line and venture into this second half, we find ourselves in the land of holy obedience. To gladly disown ourselves, to live in joyful self-renunciation, is the other half from which we so often draw back. Jesus declared, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34) Harsh demand, this self-denial. We would much prefer more comforting words like “self-fulfillment” and “self-actualization.”….

It is wonderful, this losing of one’s self through perpetual vision of the Holy. We are catapulted into something infinitely larger and more real than our petty existence. A blazing God-consciousness frees us from self-consciousness. It is freedom. It is joy. It is life (Freedom of Simplicity, p119-120).

To heed the full call of Christ. And all the while knowing true life that comes through laying one’s life.

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