Luke 9:23-24 "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."
Titus 2:12 "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;:
Matthew 7:14 "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
1 John 3:16 "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"
What does self-denial mean? Is there a difference between "self-denial" and "deny self"? The first is about "doing without," similar to what Hudson Taylor did when he was impressed that he possessed things that others needed and slimmed down is possessions. "Denying self" is about choosing to renounce making decisions for ourselves, and looking to God to give us ongoing direction.
In preparing to go to China as a missionary where he would be completely dependent on God, Hudson Taylor prepared by deliberately choosing to live on as meagre a fare as possible. This included buying cheaper food, etc. He also realized that he had possessions that were not absolutely needed, and choose to distribute some of his things to more needy people—in fact did this on an ongoing basis. God used all of this self-denial to better prepare him for serving in China.
This is an exceedingly powerful sermon that first appeared in The Christian, and later in China's Millions, where I found it. Here is a sample paragraph: "There must be a real forsaking of all, a coming down from our social heights; a deep, deliberate, practical renunciation of the world with its lust of the eye and pride of life, as well as the coarser lusts of the flesh—its luxuries, its artificial system of living, its artistic and aesthetic pleasures and occupations; an entering upon a life of evident simplicity and self-renunciation; and all by deliberate choice, rejoicing that we have somewhat to surrender for His dear Name’s sake. This is what GOD calls for. This is the price of spiritual power, or rather the door into the gymnasium where GOD trains His athletes." (Read the rest of this convicting sermon.)