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Beauty In Self-denial

Die To Self Dead (to sin) Selfless

Source: "Why do leaves change color in the fall?" published on Smithsonian Sparks, September 21, 2021, retrieved 8/9/23

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Ivan Bennett | Date Posted: 2023-08-11

Scripture: Matthew 16:24 ; Galatians 2:20

Author: Ivan Bennett / Illustration Exchange


Autumn is a most beautiful time of year. But isn't it interesting that the colorful, vibrant beauty of fall foliage stems from the process of dying?

As the season changes, temperatures drop and days get shorter. Trees get less direct sunlight, and the chlorophyll in the leaves breaks down.

The lack of chlorophyll reveals yellow and orange pigments that were already in the leaves but masked during the warmer months— Smithsonian Sparks


Like the beautiful, "dying" leaves of fall, Christians are most beautiful when they learn to walk in self-denial. It is then that the true vibrance of our walk with Christ shines in greatest contrast to worldly experinece.

When life asks no sacrifice of us, our fullest potential for selflessness lies hidden within, just like the hidden, "colorul" chlorophyll lies masked in the green leaves during the warmth of summer. But through trial, or hardship, or even through times of prosperity, when we place the callings of Christ, and even the needs of others above our own fleshly desires, it is then that the beauty of Christ is best manifest in us and through us.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24, NIV).

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20, ESV).


Win or Lose

Success Christlikeness Selfless


Contributed By: Charles Schuyler | Date Posted: 2020-02-01

Scripture: Philippians 2:3 ; Philippians 2:5

Author: Carlos Arribas


On December 2, 2012, Spanish athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai – bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner – the certain winner of the race – mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.

Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai’s mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.

“I didn’t deserve to win it,” says 24-year-old Fernández Anaya. “I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn’t have closed if he hadn’t made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn’t going to pass him.”

Fernández Anaya is coached in Vitoria by former Spanish distance runner Martín Fiz in the same place, the Prado Park, where he clocked up kilometers and kilometers of training to become a European marathon champion in 1994 and world marathon champion in 1995.

“It was a very good gesture of honesty,” says Fiz. “A gesture of the kind that isn’t made anymore. Or rather, of the kind that has never been made. A gesture that I myself wouldn’t have made. I certainly would have taken advantage of it to win.”


There are many in this world that have the same perspective as Martin Fiz.  They believe the only way to win in life is to be out in front, ahead of those around you.  Yet, our Lord, when He was on this earth, taught the exact opposite.  He told us things like - the way up is down, the way to the first chair is to take the last chair, the way to live is to die… the way to win is to be willing to lose for others. 

Paul took that example and with inspiration wrote the following in Philippians 2: 3-5: "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."

Winning in this world is climbing up the ladder of success.  But as you are going up, never forget that our Savior found victory by coming down.  

No Cheap Gifts For Christmas

Christmas Sacrifice Selfless

Source: "Peanuts" comic strip

Contributed By: Charles Krieg | Date Posted: 2018-11-15

Scripture: John 3:16 ; Mark 10:45

Author: Charles Krieg


In an episode of the comic strip “Peanuts,” Charlie Brown cracks open his piggy bank. He says to Lucy, “Look, I’ve got $9.11 to spend on Christmas gifts.”  Lucy is not impressed as she says, “You can’t buy something for everyone with $9.11, Charlie Brown.” Charlie Brown says, “Oh yeah? Well I’m gonna try!” “Then” Lucy continues, “they’re sure gonna be cheap presents.”  Charlie  says with absolute conviction, “Nothing is cheap if it costs all that you have.”


On the very first Christmas, God gave us all that He had: Himself, in the person of his Son, Jesus. Thirty-three years later Jesus would give us all that he had: his very life. Now it is our turn to give a gift to Jesus, and it should, likewise, cost all that you've got. 

Choosing Love Over A Throne

Romance Love (Divine) Selfless

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-02-12

Scripture: Philippians 2:3

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Deceased Charged A Termination Fee

Death Selfless Resurrection

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-03-23

Scripture: Philippians 3:10 ; 2 Corinthians 4:10

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Striving To Be Zero

Humility Selfless Servanthood

Contributed By: Fred Gates | Date Posted: 2013-06-23

Scripture: Philippians 2:3 ; Romans 12:10

Author: Rose Marie Berger

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One Dad Inspires Teens To Make A Big Burrito Difference

Fatherhood Guidance Selfless

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-06-12

Scripture: Proverbs 22:6

Author: Illustration Exchange

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The New Darwinism

God's Love Motivation Selfless

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-05-22

Scripture: Acts 20:35 ; Colossians 3:17

Author: Harriet Rubin / Helena Cronin

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True Glory

Selfless Reward Motivation

Contributed By: Lynn Schuyler | Date Posted: 2013-02-06

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:31

Author: Lynn Schuyler

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The Joy of Self-forgetfulness

Selfless Affliction Joy

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-12-19

Scripture: Philippians 2:1

Author: Helen Keller

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