Just as King Joash killed Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada who had let him live, we have no choice but to stray towards the evil path when we accept the thoughts from Satan. Therefore, Jesus told us, “You must deny yourself.” One must not believe in their thoughts and examine whether their thoughts fit the will of God. That is when we can become a person of God who does precious works.
The First Condition in Following Jesus
When you look in Matthew chapter 16 verse 24, Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself.” The first condition in following Jesus is that one must deny himself; to deny oneself means to not acknowledge and accept your thoughts, feelings or judgments. There might be people who think, “Isn’t it good to believe in myself? If I am not supposed to believe in myself who do I believe in?”
However, when we look in the Bible, we are able to understand the fact that we are an existence that shouldn’t believe in ourselves. It is not only our thoughts that we follow in our lives; at times, Satan drags at our hearts. Therefore, believing in ourselves is believing in the thoughts of Satan and as a result, we walk opposite of God and commit a great sin. That is why Jesus told us to deny ourselves.
King Joash Who Repaid Good with Evil
King Joash comes out in the Old Testament. As soon as King Ahaziah, the father of King Joash died, Athaliah, who was the mother of Ahaziah, killed all of her grandchildren in order to take the throne. At that time, Jehosheba, the sister of Ahaziah, and the priest Jehoiada the husband of Jehosheba, hid one of the sons of the king. The son was the newly-born Prince Joash. They hid Joash in the house of the Lord for six years and raised him.
The year Joash turned seven years old, the priest Jehoiada did the work of setting up an elaborate plan to establish Joash as the king. As a result, Athaliah was killed and Joash ascended the throne. Although Joash was an immature seven-year-old kid, he was able to reign over the country peacefully with the teachings of the priest, Jehoiada. Also, he poured his heart towards God and became a magnificent king.
After a lot of time passed, Jehoiada died and King Joash grew old. By the time King Joash was able to reign by himself, he began to go corrupt. He went against God, served other gods, and put the country in chaos. During that time, Zechariah the son of Jehoiada chastised King Joash for forsaking God and counseled him to return. However, King Joash stoned Zechariah to death, the son of Jehoiada who had led him to be a great king. Jehoiada had saved him and bestowed grace, but how could Joash stone such a person’s son to death?
If We Accept the Thoughts from Satan
People commit evil because in most cases evil spirits enter inside of them and drag them. Satan often puts thoughts inside of us too; if one, who received great blessing of God, continues to follow that thought, then they eventually go against God and those who bestowed grace upon them. We can see many stories like that in the Bible.
If you look in Matthew chapter 21, it talks about the husbandmen in the vineyard. These husbandmen, who used to live difficult life, lived happily and wealthily after starting to work in the householder’s vineyard. However, one day the husbandmen beat and killed the servants sent by the householder to receive the fruits. The husbandmen did the same thing even when the householder sent more servants; ultimately, they committed an evil act by killing the householder’s loving son.
Such evil acts are not only done by evil people. No matter how much of a good person you are, you have no choice but to commit evil sins if you accept the thoughts given by Satan and are led by him. Just as Joash killed Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada who had saved him, we must know that we all are capable of doing that.
When You Deny Yourself and Follow the Bible
Although there are times when we commit evil due to bad friends around us or the influence of a con artist, the more important thing is that there are many cases when we think that a thought given by Satan is our thought and by following it, we fall into sin. Therefore, we must free ourselves from our point-of-view, and take a good look together with other people around us at the thoughts coming from inside of us; also, we must reflect upon ourselves through the Words of God in the Bible. We must examine, compare, and confirm our thoughts with the Bible open. “Is this thought from God? Is this will of God?” Otherwise we will think that the thought from Satan is our thought. Like the husbandmen, and like Joash, we have no choice but to do the evil act of killing the savior of our lives.
Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself.” Since your thoughts and His are different, if you follow your thoughts, you cannot follow Jesus. The Word of God says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts.” Regardless of whatever thought you have, do not believe in yourself and ask yourself, “Whose thought is this?” We must doubt ourselves and know exactly whether we are inside of the will of God or not. When we deny our thoughts and follow the Bible and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can become people of God who do precious works.