"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it." Matthew 16:24-25
How do we define ourselves? Some of us do it with the company we keep: I'm so-and-so's friend or I'm my parent's kid. Others of us do it by what we do: I'm an Athlete or I'm a Band Member. But is that how*God* defines us?
When Jesus tells us in the verse above to deny ourselves, that means we have to give up the titles and recognition and familiarity that we have and become what God wants us to be. God called Moses
to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses was shocked! He didn't define himself as a "Leader." But that
didn't matter--God did.
In fact, throughout the Bible very few people were called to do God's work in the field that they thought they were meant to serve in. People had to deny themselves, leave their old lives, and often take
on symbolic new names to show their new path in life. Sometimes we aren't immediately told what the new path is. God just decides to take away a gift, like speaking ability or physical prowess or singing ability. Then we have to sit and wait and pray for our new assignment to be revealed to us. Either way
we've got to be ready for any change of plans that God gives us and set out on that new path.