And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”Luke 9:23
Halloween costumes have come a long way in the past 30 years. When I was a kid all we could choose from was a handful of plastic masks of characters like Casper the Ghost, Batman, King Kong, an astronaut, a witch, and maybe a clown. They would sometimes come with a screen-printed trash bag of sorts and, if you were lucky, a cape to complete the look. And that’s how it was every Halloween; lots of stiff-faced, cape wearing midgets running around with empty pillowcases or round plastic pumpkins. I can remember that the masks made it so hard to breathe. And when you would talk they would move up and down on your face with your mouth. They were awkward and uncomfortable, but we wore them for one reason and one reason only: candy!
My parents were sticklers when it came to treat-or-treating; we couldn’t do it without costumes. Let the record reflect that I did not nor do I currently like dressing up in costumes! But I did (and do) like candy. So much so that I left behind my dignity and even my identity and assumed a new one for something definitely worth having.
It doesn’t take a big leap to understand that if Jesus is worth knowing and following, we have to be willing to leave our comfort, preferences, and even our personal identity all behind if He asks us to and follow Him. Denying yourself is hard; sometimes it feels like death. That’s what is commonly behind fasting. We deny ourselves something, usually food, to remind ourselves that it’s God that provides for us and that we are no longer on the throne of our lives. When we realize that Jesus is worth more than anything we possess, then that’s when we experience the sweetness of His love in its fullness and we become more like Him. And He is the ultimate superhero to emulate!
Questions to ponder
What was your favorite Halloween costume (or other dress up occasion) that you enjoyed wearing when you were younger? What was your least favorite?
The command to deny yourself is something we don’t hear often nowadays; why do you think it’s so hard to deny yourself?
What is something that you can temporarily fast from that you can replace with more time with Jesus?