â€œThen said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.â€Â Â (Matthew 16:24)
The beauty of Godâ€™s holy attributes should compel us to fall immediately before Him in ceaseless worship and delight. Do we? A close inspection of our behavior reveals the answer.
Godâ€™s beautiful nature is adored by sinful man . . . when it agrees with his self-interest. Man cries out to Godâ€™s omnipotence when he wants to be rescued from the consequences of sin, but he rails against Godâ€™s sovereignty when it takes the life of one he loves. Man comforts himself in Godâ€™s omniscience when it keeps track of his good deeds; he hates Godâ€™s knowledge when it holds him accountable for misbehavior. Man loves Godâ€™s omnipresence when heâ€™s fearful; he rejects it when heâ€™s engaged in immorality. Man delights in Godâ€™s freedom to do as He pleasesâ€”except when it crosses his plans. Man rejoices in Godâ€™s perfect justice because it punishes his evil adversaries; he spurns it when heâ€™s committed the crime.
Some may object: â€œArenâ€™t there attributes of God that all people worship, like His mercy and love?â€ Yesâ€”when it serves their purposes. Man receives Godâ€™s mercy when itâ€™s extended to him; he scorns it when itâ€™s extended to his rivals. Man relishes Godâ€™s love when it results in his salvation from hell; he repudiates Godâ€™s love when it results in salvation for his motherâ€™s murderer. Man is pleased when God is patient with him; he canâ€™t understand why God would be patient with his atheistic neighbor. Itâ€™s perfectly logical that God would be slow to anger with him; itâ€™s unbelievable that God would be slow to anger with dictators.
Do you see the problem? Our self-seeking stands in the way of our worship. Hence our need for self-denial, as todayâ€™s verse so clearly articulates. NTJ