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. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Mark 8:35-37 (NKJV)
According to Jesus it’s when we seek to save our life that we actually lose it! Self-preservation is self-destruction! The principle of the seed helps us understand this. When a seed stays by itself it’s lost. The potential harvest in it is lost, it’s not realised. But when it’s sowed it dies (a type of losing it, because you let go of it) then it yields a harvest – a crop, plant, tree or fruit.
I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest. Anyone who loves his life loses it, but anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. [Whoever has no love for, no concern for, no regard for his life here on earth, but despises it, preserves his life forever and ever.] John 12:24-25 (AMPC)
Men strive, fight, and kill to gain things in order to save or keep their lives. They will do whatever it takes, if need be, to gain or possess the whole world for the sole purpose of saving their lives. But Jesus tells us that such endeavors result into one losing his life.
This is so true looking at former world leaders whose ambition was to conquer and rule the whole world. They all died in the process and their empires that crumbled are now only part of history. On the other hand, the people who sacrificed their life for the wellbeing of others continue to live on.
Loving, selfless parents put their children before them. They sacrifice their life, energy, and comfort for their children.
Such people who see and live beyond themselves leave a legacy, even when they pass on, they are dearly and honorably remembered for generations, so in a sense their lives go on because the inspiring memory of them lives on after them.
Giving our lives and selves to Jesus is salvation, giving our lives and selves for the wellbeing of others is fulfilment. Living for something bigger than you is living satisfied.