“若有人要跟从我，就当舍己，背起他的十字架来跟从我。 因为，凡要救自己生命的，必丧掉生命；凡为我丧掉生命的，必得着生命。”马太福音 16:24-25
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:24-25
去非洲传教的先驱利文斯顿（David Livingstone） 用自己的生命见证了耶稣，他说，人们都在谈论我在非洲所做的牺牲。但是，相对于神给我的，我所做的算得了什么呢？神舍弃了自己的儿子，让我得到良善、平安、盼望和生命。我根本没有牺牲什么。今天，你是在自我牺牲，还是自我放纵？
Jesus Christ spoke frankly to His disciples concerning the future. He hid nothing from them. No one could ever accuse Him of deception. No one could ever accuse Him of securing allegiance y making false promises.In unmistakable language He told them that discipleship meant a life of self-denial, and the bearing of a cross. He asked them to count the cost carefully, lest they should turn back when they met with suffering and privation.
Jesus told His men that the world would hate them. They would be “as sheep in the midst of wolves.” They would be arrested, scourged, and brought before governors and kings. Even their loved ones would persecute them. As the world hated and persecuted Him, so it would treat His servants. He warned further, “They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God” (John 6:66 RSV). But the true disciples of Jesus all suffered for their faith.
I think the great pioneer missionary to Africa, David Livingstone, had a handle on what it means to deny self in service to Christ when he said, “People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owed to God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own best reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and the bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? I never made a sacrifice!”Are you known primarily for self-denial or self-indulgence?