“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35).
Cross bearing and self-denial are not optional if a person wants to follow Jesus. Jesus has made that point perfectly clear as He speaks to this mixed group of disciples and unbelievers in the area around Caesarea Philippi.
To re-enforce His teaching, Jesus presents to them a statement that appears almost contradictory at first glance: To save, one must lose; and whoever loses saves—in other words, a follower of Christ must be willing to give up something here to gain Heaven.
Jesus speaks of the higher spiritual life. The person who is willing to sacrifice his earthly life here, either by dying for the Cause or by denying himself, will gain in the life to come, finding himself in Jesus’ bosom for all eternity.