Jesus told his disciples 'if any man would come after me, let him deny himself.' Note that this a prerequisite, not an option. It is not a recommendation or a suggestion. He who desires to follow Christ must deny himself. Why? First, because Christ commands it of us; that should be enough for anyone who calls themselves a Christian. Second, because of the example of the Lord. He denied himself totally – being God he left heaven and became man for our sake; we who are called to be as Christ-like as possible must in our own poor way strive to emulate his great humility. Thirdly, nothing Christ teaches us is arbitrary. All is done for the salvation of our souls. Christ knew that to place our will before that of God in even the most minor matter risked leading us to damnation. And so he commanded those who would follow him to deny themselves.