Matthew 16:24-25 KJV 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. Self-denial. How often do we find ourselves saying no to our flesh and yes to the Spirit of God? If we really did inventory of our hearts and motives I believe we will all find something that God is requiring us to lay down in order to go to the next level in our relationship with Him. The Greek word for deny is aparneomai. The full meaning is to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone and to forget one's self, lose sight of one's self and one's own interests. The awesome thing about God is when we lay something down and allow ourselves to die to it's pull on us, in due season, the Lord will return it at a greater measure. For instance, when my husband was body building in his late teens and early twenties, he desired to own a health club. Through many years of trials and walking away from God, it was something he had to lay down. However, once he committed his life to Christ again, this dream was the very thing God allowed us to birth in order for us to launch a ministry. The beginning years of the first health club were difficult financially and we had to make many sacrifices, but we never stopped trusting Him and always, always, put Him first in our giving. We never robbed God of what was rightfully His and not only did we see our business flourish, He multiplied the business. By God's grace we were able to own 3 health clubs and sell them and it has tremendously provided for the ministry and our family. To be FULLY surrendered is to be dead to ourself. When we lose our life, we find it in Him! There's no more searching for Truth because we found it in Him. As you are led by the Spirit of God, He will bless you in ways you never dreamed. I still have desires and dreams in me that I know will come to pass but I cannot force them. I have to say Yes to God first, in His timing these dreams He has placed in me will happen. As long as I remain faithful & obedient. Make no mistake, God's promises are based on our obedience. He isn't a genie in a bottle and He isn't sitting on His throne waiting for us to make mistakes and punish us. God is LOVE! Surrender to His will and you will find life more abundantly! Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.