Denial Is Not Always A Bad Thing!


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)

A school of thought I have heard regarding infidelity is that the person considering infidelity (or already engaging in such behavior) ought to explicitly acknowledge such feelings. It is no good denying and suppressing such feelings is how it is sold. I think I detected a version of that line of thinking in Dr. Chapman’s book (post here).

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.


3 thoughts on “Denial Is Not Always A Bad Thing!”

    1. I suspect that a lot of the support for (and coddling of) adulterers in churches has to do with a sort of legalistic pride on the part of pastors, elders, other leaders. They have made the statistical counting of intact marriages and adultery reconciliations a measure of spiritual success. A kind of scorecard. A “key performance metric” as it is called in the business world.

      In order to pursue the goal of intact marriages, the bad conduct and character of the adulterer must be minimized in order to rationalize saving the marriage. Pastors are satisfied with the fake remorse and phony repentance from adulterers….as long as the adulterer wants to continue getting the benefits of the marriage, it makes the pastor look like he has achieved something.

      It’s all human pride. Success measured by achievement of man-made religious goals, rather than faithfulness of following the Lord’s directives on holy living and serving.

      As an example, a few years ago I witnessed a new pastor telling his congregation that he was setting a goal for the church – to achieve 300 conversions by the end of the year. He had very specific plans on what they were all expected to do, and how they were going to be measured and tracked, to accomplish his goal. Such terrible legalism! There was no appeal to the will of the Lord, and the working of the Holy Spirit in relation to the number of people who would be saved. It’s this kind of attitude that I’m talking about.

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