Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" —Matthew 16:24-26
The passage in Matthew that forms the basis of our message talks about losing your life so that you might gain it. At first it may seem to you that Jesus' assertion amounts to little more than theological double-talk.
But this teaching begins to make profound spiritual sense when we realize that Jesus is talking about the divine new birth. He is talking about our willingness to allow God to do in us what we cannot do ourselves. Jesus is talking about a new life, a new kind of relationship. Jesus is talking, as we read in John 5:24, of crossing over from death to life.
Here's the bottom line. The Bible insists that human life, as we know it, apart from God, is not life at all, but it is death. How do we lose our lives? We accept the invitation of God. We accept his gracious offer to join his family. This means that we must renounce and deny all fleshly pursuits as being less important than our relationship with God.