Luke 9:23-24 (NKJV)
Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
What a paradoxical statement. Such a truth cannot be seen by a simple reading but only by a deeper understanding of what Jesus is saying.
If I put myself first, then the best I can have is whatever I can muster up for myself which is not a lot. After many attempts, I know by experience that my efforts don't amount to much. However if I put Jesus first then the best I can have is whatever He can provide which is anything and everything. My way leads to frustration and ultimate death. Jesus way leads to fulfillment and the abundant life.
John 15:5 (NKJV)
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.