All God’s plans have the mark of the cross on them, and all His plans have death to self in them…. But men’s plans ignore the offense of the cross or despise it. Men’s plans have no profound, stern or self-immolating denial in them. Their gain is of the world. How much of these destructive elements, esteemed by men, does the devil bring into the church, until all the high, unworldly and holy aims, and heavenly objects of the church are retired and forgotten?
Denial is the fruit of fear, not the fruit of faith. True faith can evaluate the circumstances without growing hopeless because it sees the world through God’s eyes.
Insecurity, loneliness, frustration, self-hatred, anger, or the like—that goes unchecked will eventually grow into something massive. It may not be today or tomorrow, but it’s much like a sliver under your skin. Left unattended, that sliver will begin to fester and grow an infection until it’s so painful that you don’t want anyone to touch it. But until you remove the sliver, the infection will continue to grow.
Denial is the fruit of fear, not the root of faith. True faith can evaluate the circumstances without growing hopeless because it sees the world through God’s eyes.
Many people not only lose the benefit, but are even the worse for their mortifications [i.e., sacrifices, abstensions],…because they mistake the whole nature and worth of them: they practice them for their own sakes, as things good in themselves, they think them to be real parts of holiness, and so rest in them and look no further, but grow full of a self-esteem and self-admiration for their own progress in them. This makes them self-sufficient, morose, severe judges of all those that fall short of their mortifications. And thus their self-denials do only that for them which indulgences do for other people: they withstand and hinder the operation of God upon their souls, and instead of being really self-denials, they strengthen and keep up the kingdom of self.