NKJV - 23 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
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Being a disciple of Christ often requires actions and attitudes that are in conflict with the way that people who do not follow Him think and behave. Those who do not follow Christ might put their own needs and desires first, even when it results in harm or deprivation to another person. This is a product of the sinful nature that every person (except Jesus) has possessed ever since humanity's original decision to disobey God's commands (Genesis 3:1-7). This predisposition results in such attitudes as wanting revenge against those who oppose or injure them; continually focusing on accumulating more material goods and personal power or influence for themselves; and acting in general as if this life and world are the be-all and end-all of existence. By contrast, following Jesus requires the disavowal of these tendencies, and consistently making a conscious effort to put obedience to God first in one's life, and to put love for other people on a par with love for oneself, even when doing so might involve not fulfilling personal desires. It also means remaining faithful to Christ when following Him results in opposition from others (as Jesus told His disciples it would, and when our "natural" inclination would be to abandon Him), and bearing in mind that, beyond this earth and life, those who maintain their faith have a reward awaiting them that will be eternal, and that will never be taken away from them.
In my understanding of this verse, to deny one's self means to cease doing what you want and follow the Commandments of God the Father. Messiah denied himself and did the "will" of the Father in "ALL" instances. We are to do exactly the same. I prefer the rendition in the Amplified Bible... Luke 9:23 And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross daily [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. Thank you.
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