There is definitely a difference in being a “christian” and being a “Christ (Messiah) follower”. Did Jesus ever ask anyone to be a Christian?
Jesus did ask us to follow Him. Jesus sends us out to make disciples of the whole world.
I need to get the focus right. Jesus calls me to follow him. Jesus challenges me to let him be the Master. My job is to change my mind about who is in charge. Jesus is in charge.
Jesus is radical in his approach. Nothing, not even family, is more important. This runs counter to our culture that believes family comes first. Family does not come first. Jesus comes first. No negotiating. That is the way of Jesus. It isn’t easy. It wasn’t meant to be.
Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?
Source: Jesus (Mark 8:34-37)
And consider this.
Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.