It's impossible to follow Christ without a radical, wholehearted commitment to deny self.
Though that runs contrary to everything our culture tells us, we as Christians must constantly remind ourselves and each other that we can not truly follow Christ without saying no to ourselves.
I say that for a number of reasons:
I say it because following Christ means calling Him Lord. And calling Him Lord means saying He gets to call the shots, and saying He gets to call the shots means you don't, and you not calling the shots requires self-denial.
I say it because the purpose of following Christ is to glorify God. Living to glorify God means being done with living to glorify self.
I say it because Jesus taught that those who follow Him must be characterized by love. And everything about the way the Bible defines love requires self-denial.
Think about it.
Love is patient - why are we impatient? We're not denying self.
Love is kind - what is kindness? Looking out for someone other than yourself.
Love does not envy - what is envy? Wanting what's best for one self.
To love is to deny self.
I say it because Jesus has called us to follow Him for the purpose of helping others.
I say it because the nature of what we are as group of Christ followers requires self-denial. We are a body. A body where every part is looking out for itself is a freak show. If my hand decides it wants to do what it wants to do without paying attention to the rest of my body, I'm going to end up a pretty frightening person.