Film 2 in the True Beauty series
David C Cook/Flannel
Everywhere they turn, women are fed the message that self-indulgence and having-it-all is the end goal. Each season brings a new style, a must-have bag and a better-than-ever face cream that will turn other women green with envy. Sacrifice isn’t applauded, but rising up in the ranks is but, as they climb, they realize that this way of life isn’t shiny and happy—it’s empty.
In the second film of her new series, True Beauty: Finding Your Identity in Jesus (David C Cook/Flannel, March 2013), Lisa Chan–co-founder of the mega-church Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley—presents another option for women: Deny Yourself. In this impactful teaching, she demonstrates a way of life that is full of contentedness and joy.
After studying the Gospel of Luke, Lisa was struck by Jesus’ command that “whoever does not carry their cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.” But, in a world that shamelessly encourages accumulation of material possessions and growth of status—with nary a thought of anyone else—denying oneself and living solely for God seems counterintuitive, and even foolish.
Not so, according to Lisa. Rather, this pressure from society “makes the call more grave to look totally different from the world,” she explains passionately. “People should always be looking at our lives and thinking why we don’t do that or always do this.”
As the wife of bestselling author and pastor Francis Chan and a mother of five children, Lisa has certainly experienced this different way of living. In 2010, she, Francis and their family left all that was familiar to them–their church, hometown and friends—and embarked on an unpredictable journey, propelled by the sense that God was leading them to serve elsewhere. After traveling through Asia and working amongst the poor there, they ended up being called to inner city San Francisco, where they now call home.
Deny Yourself weaves Lisa’s teaching with the story of Irene, a wife and mother, who, several years ago, was at her wit’s end in her marriage. Ready to divorce her alcoholic husband, God moved mightily in his heart and she was called to forgive him when he come to her with a repentant spirit. In a marriage that’s now thriving, Irene and her husband have been challenged by the biblical command to deny themselves by living out God’s instruction to “care for the orphans.” Together, they have adopted several children into their family.
In Deny Yourself, women will find Lisa’s gentle–yet fervent–demeanor welcoming and her urgency, refreshing. Her passion for other women to experience freedom is palpable and her practical advice is challenging. Full of vulnerable moments, Lisa freely acknowledges her natural desire to feed her sinful nature. But, she is quick to assert that when it comes to denying oneself for the sake of Christ, “there is nothing better.”
“When I have laid down my life, God fills me up…who cares if we’ve given up some comfort, some possessions and stuff?” Chan asks, with a peaceful steadiness to her voice. “He fills your heart with joy as nothing else can.”