Scripture Texts: Mark 8:31-38; Mark 9:1-13
The essence of being a follower of Jesus Christ is to deny yourself and take up your cross. There could not be a more counter cultural message for our day and age. We live in the time of gratification and taking care of ourselves more than anyone else around us. From our earliest of years we are now being taught to place top value on our own happiness.
This means denying what I think is best and deferring to Jesus. This means denying what I see as my rights and just deserts and deferring to Jesus. Self-denial and sacrifice is not something that runs strong in the fabric our our lives, yet it is exactly what we are called to.
It might seem obvious, I will state it anyway. In order to cultivate a healthy marriage self-sacrifice is a requirement. If our only pursuit is to satisfy our needs, wants, hopes and dreams at the expense of our spouse chances are if we achieve all those things, our spouse won't be there to celebrate with us.
For this to be healthy both partners need to be approaching their lives and the marriage from this understanding. If only one partner is willing to sacrifice the results are oppressive. When both partners are sacrificial the focus is on other person more than themselves.
A whole deeper level is when both spouses not only defer to each other, they also defer to the way of Jesus. In fact self-sacrifice begins with our ability to to deny ourselves and and take up the way of Jesus. Two people denying themselves and following Jesus, while also sacrificing for the sake of their spouse will result in a marriage that is whole and full.