There are many ways to approach discipleship in Christ, but one thing is assured. Unless your obedience is carried to the extreme, it is not Biblical Christianity.
Discipleship begins at the cross. It begins at the laying down of everything of this life, and that of following the Master. From start to finish, it must be about absolute trusting and dependence upon the Shepherd for everything.
And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
The walk of the Gospel begins with the loss of everything, with the hatred of everything of this life. There is no discipleship before this, nor can there be so long as anything in this life is held onto. While it is true we do not know at the beginning everything that this will entail, we are only splashing around in the shallow waters of salvation, not discipleship, until we cross the boundary of considering ourselves crucified to this world and it to us.
As we step out our attachment to this life, we step into the only thing greater, the realm of the Kingdom in the Holy Spirit. Had we not had the Holy Spirit, we would be orphans, but with Him, we are preserved.
Had we remained in any portion of our previous life, we would always have a war within ourselves until we gave it up or went back to it, as there is no fellowship between the soul and the Spirit.
Our old desires, our old ways of thinking, our old habits and patterns. And, as we grow, and see more areas to yield, we are increasingly called to leave our soul-based life and live by the Spirit.
This, then, is the path of discipleship. When we surrender everything of this life, and every delight in the earth, we can see the heavenly delights more. The only real objection to this is by the person who does not yet see the heavenly delights. Once seen, as the treasure in the field was worth much more than all our possessions, the decision to lose all to gain is a given.
When we have forsaken all, and can see that that heavenly life is that much better, we easily make choices to lose our life to find His. As we lay down what we have to continue to gain that most precious place in Him, understanding His worth, the willingness to lose all earthly ties increases.
It is not always immediate. Even Peter had to work through some of the issues of his own heart before he was willing to go to his own cross at the end, but it came. And, while there was a corner of his heart that was still stuck in himself and not Christ, the Lord Jesus made sure He was found in Him.
So, while the beginning of discipleship is the hatred of this life, and the walking out of it is the seeing of the life of the Spirit as more real than the natural, for the invisible is more real than the visible (Hebrews 11:3), its culmination results in living by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and in keeping in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).
In doing so, simply in living in step with the Spirit, we are guaranteed holiness, for we will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). We are guaranteed fruitfulness, for in keeping in step with Him, listening and obeying Him, we do the will and works of the Father (Matthew 7:21). We also walk in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), for to in in Him and in step with Him, is to think His thoughts, to live His life (Galatians 2:20), and to manifest His goodness.
Yet, ultimately, the fullness of our walk in the Spirit must be the John 17:11, One with the Father, even as Jesus and He were one. This is not possible except in the scope of the other, even as the Holy of Holies was contained within the Holy place, but as we abide in Him, and He makes His home in us, our thoughts, our actions, and our whole being become one, together with Him, until they are indistinguishable.
That said, even Jesus did have to wrestle the night before His own crucifixion to choose the Father’s will, but the evidence remains that He did choose, and He subjected His own life to the Father, and remained faithful.
If we truly desire the walk of discipleship in Christ, we must endeavor to become one, and even as the Father hates the things of the world, so must we, for all those things that are highly valuable among men are detestable unto God (Luke 16:15). In so walking, as He is not of this world, so neither are we. And, as He executed and demonstrated power over every aspect of this Earth, so might we.
The cost, of course, is everything, even as the parable indicates (Matthew 13:44), but the worth far exceeds it all, and even in His light, we do yet see more light (Psalm 36:9). For, there is no end to the goodness of the Father for those who walk according to it.
Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.