Self Denial as a Path to Spiritual Growth

“Without constraints we cannot flourish. As most parents know, it is only when children ‘know where they stand’ that they start to relax, even more so when they know the limits are set by someone who loves them.[…] The attempt to wrestle free from constraints altogether…  is ultimately self-defeating. We become imprisoned, not free.[…] Of course there are many constraints that do undermine human freedom – epilepsy, terminal cancer, solitary confinement. The point here, however, is to challenge the belief that we automatically increase freedom by reducing limits or multiplying the options open to us. (Does having thirty brands of yogurt to choose from actually make us any more free?) For the Christian, to be free is not fundamentally to enjoy some supposedly blank space before us, or to increase options, but to be at peace with God and one another and thus at home in a God-given world.”

(Jeremy S. Begbie, Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music, pgs. 248-249)

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