“And he (Jesus) called to him the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life?”
The alternative to taking up your cross is forfeiting your soul.
“It is to gain the approval of the “world” and Jesus’ disapproval. The confrontation between, on the one hand, Jesus and His kingdom, and, on the other, the world he has come to redeem, is so total that one necessarily sides with one or the other. The irony is that those who “lose” their lives by this “crucifxion” thereby find their lives.”
–D.A. Carson, How Long O Lord, p. 75