Memorise: whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 1 John 3:9
A child of God is the light of the world. Light is the direct opposite of darkness. Everybody welcomes light with a shout of joy. Where there is light, hidden agendas are revealed. Jesus expects us to prove Him right by living according to His description of us. The implication of being called a child of God is that you should cease to live in sin. The most painful experience a Christian could have is for someone to look at you and say: “And you call yourself a child of God!” unbelievers know that they are not children of God, but they expect a life that is compliant with your confession as a child of God.
Some of us have forfeited many things we could have legitimately fought for, because we do not want anybody to say: “And you said you are a child of God”. I recall the death and burial of the late founder of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. The senior pastors suspected that I was going to be his successor even though nobody had officially said so. They waged war against me. On my part, I prepared for battle by loading myself with some mathematical calculations and putting together some Bible passages I could use as arrows. I was ready for a total showdown spiritually. Along the way, the Lord began to speak to me. He said to me, “As a son of the Prince of Peace, are you supposed to fight?” That was the end of my plan to fight my detractors. Living holy costly. But the consequence of not living holy is too terrible to be compared to the cost. It may be hard to remain faithful to your spouse or abstain from sex before marriage. People would mock and dismiss you as being old-fashioned. But when weight against the awful result of immoral living, such as the likelihood of contracting HIV/AIDS and the consequent perpetual regret, holiness at any cost would be better appreciated.
The Almighty God is not going to change His standard for anyone. He commands us to comply but leaves us to decide. Jesus never advised any of those who hesitated to follow Him to first go home and think about issue. They had to decide there are then. Self-denial is a basic qualification for discipleship, and it involves fasting and praying when others are sleeping, and studying the Bible while others want to spend time on leisure. It also entails keeping quite while others are talking or engaging in frivolous past-times.
Father, help me to use self-denial as a required daily sacrifice for living right.