Your question reminds me of two verses in the Bible:
Romans8:5-9Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
Galatians5:16-18So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
For me, “denying yourself, picking up your cross and following Jesus?” means This is about obeying the leader of the spirit and keeping my body free from sinful nature desires.