The possibility of losing their lives was very real for the disciples as well as for Jesus. Real discipleship implies real commitment-pledging our whole existence to his service. If we try to save our physical life from death, pain, or discomfort, we may risk losing our true eternal life. If we protect ourselves from pain, we begin to die spiritually and emotionally. Our lives turn inward, and we lose our intended purpose. When we give our lives in service to Christ, however, we discover the real purpose of living.
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. (Matthew 16:25 NLT)