In "Deny Thyself", our second t-shirt design, I wanted to simultaneously speak into both our posture before God and our position because of Christ.
When Christ calls us to Deny Ourselves, He isn't calling us to sell all of our possessions, live on the streets, beg for money, and starve. It is a call to be like Christ. To submit to the will of the Father for our lives, for the benefit of others, and to the glory of God.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
We must be willing to give up our own desires for fame, riches, glory, recognition and be obedient to what God's will is for our lives. Because this will vary from person to person, we must each spend time with Our Father in prayer to know specifically what this means.
For myself, this meant leaving my full-time job as a designer and utilizing my gifts and skills, that God gave me, in a way that was glorifying to Him. This is not to say that diligently working to the best of my ability isn't in and of itself glorifying to God, because it is. But I felt a specific draw from the spirit to create designs that invited others into a conversation about who Jesus Christ is. You can read more about that story, here.
On the back of the shirt I placed an upside down crown. Jesus promised various rewards for those who faithfully serve Him on earth (Matthew 5:12; 1 Corinthians 3:14; Revelation 22:12). Some of those rewards are crowns (James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 3:11). It is certainly no mistake that our reward is a crown when scripture says that we are now co-heirs with Jesus.
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
The crown on the shirt is facing down as symbol of humility and a willingness to give it up. In Revelation, Peter is given a vision of what heaven will be like. Amongst many other crazy things that I am not going to get into, He sees twenty-four elders worshipping Jesus and laying their crowns at His feet.
The twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”
This is the posture I believe we are to have before The King of Kings. It is a posture of humility, reverence, and praise. And even though our position has been elevated to Children of God and Co-Heirs to the thrown, we are to continue to have that same posture.
I hope that this beautiful picture is my response in Heaven once I receive my reward. I hope to be so overcome with gratitude because of who He is and what he has done for me that I have no other desire but to give what little I have right back to Him, because only He is worthy.