I woke up with this next passage on my mind...
"Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 'If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." - Luke 14:25-27 ESV
Jesus taught in a Hebrew style. He uses parallelisms. The Psalms and Proverbs is full of them. This would classify as a synonymous parallelism. One statement builds on and is equivalent to the next. Claiming co-crucifixion with Christ and hating sentimental attachments with people go hand in hand.
"And Jesus said to him, 'Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.' Yet another said, 'I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.' Jesus said to him, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'" - Luke 9:60-62 ESV
When I was growing up we had a term for people who made a claim to be something they admired but did not resemble. It was 'poser'. They wore the shirt but lacked the commitment or qualities of the band or movement they claimed to be a part of.
Jesus was making a statement here. His cross was a part of who He was. In a fallen world the cross is where a holy person goes. You can't be called a disciple if you have no cross. You can't be HIS disciple unless you have HIS cross.
This isn't salvation. Salvation is believing in Christ. This is discipleship and there are other benefits involved in discipleship. Intimacy is one. If you want to 'know' Jesus then you have to be where He Is. Wearing a Christian T-shirt doesn't make you a disciple. Identification with His cross and detachment from the controlling influences of sentimentality are key ingredients.
It isn't a works program. It is a value system. I want to have God's value system and I look to Jesus to see what that means. The way into that system is through His cross. He has born the pain of it. We pick it up and there are echoes. Not everyone will like what we are doing. Our life no longer belongs to us. Our hands rest on a plow that moves straight ahead without deviation. We plow straight lines of grace thinking. If we fail we repent and get back up again and say, 'That wasn't Jesus but the fact that I can rebound is evidence of His place in my life.'
Why say we follow Christ if we don't resemble Him? It is only going to confuse people and later it will all burn up like wood and hay on a fire.
No, Let's pick up His cross. It is a light burden and an easy yoke if we have forsaken everything else.