I think the way to approach God isn’t so much by consciously denying ourselves, but by actively pursuing Him.  It’s an important distinction.
A purely negative action leaves a void, and keeps us focused on what we are depriving ourselves of. It’s easy to get a martyr complex and think about how “spiritual” we are being while our pride and self-centred ness remain intact.
But how if we make Christ our goal, we pursue Him and place the knowledge of Him as our supreme good?  That which is solid, eternal, and unchanging becomes the centre; lesser, temporal  things, good in themselves, remain as blessings, and the bad things are simply pushed out of our lives as hindrances.
This is the difference , by the way, between discipline and legalism. The former focuses on the goal, the latter on self and what it’s missing. Discipline leads to increased joy and satisfaction, legalism to pride and joyless religion.
I’ll take the joy.
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