For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age….
-Titus 2:11-12, NKJV (emphasis mine)
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
-Matthew 16:24, KJV (Quotation marks and emphasis added)
This is worldly thinking.
Denial of the flesh ought to be a way of life for ones truly belonging to Christ. So, denial is not always a bad thing. It is a godly thing in the right context.
The limited merit in this worldly way of thinking is its encouragement to be honest. God does want our honesty. However, that is the little bit of truth on which this false teaching is sold.
It is one thing to be honest in confession to your pastor, brother, or God. And it is quite another to actively engage in behavior strengthening those fleshly feelings by dwelling on them and sharing them with a party interested in you giving into such ungodly feelings!
The Apostle Paul teaches us to dwell upon godly and noble things in Philippians 4:8. Feelings inclining one to cheat is neither godly or noble. So, we are instructed to not dwell on them. This is not rocket science. It is Christian Living 101.
Denial of the flesh is a good thing. It prevents us from this weedy world entrapping our souls and drawing us away from our loving and holy Savior. And in my opinion, the Church would be a much healthier place if that sort of denial was extolled more.