This is a very important question to grapple with. The demands of following Jesus are real and at times intense. We often miss this because by and large, our society is not anti-Christian (though it may feel like it is at times). Yet even we feel the tension of following Christ because when we stand on our convictions it has implications in the workplace, with our peers and with family. As you consider the true nature of disicpleship, consider these articles. This one argues that salvation and discipleship are two completely separate issues; the latter follows the former. Another article brings a more middle of the road approach, which is closer to my personal view: yes, discipleship is a life long process (salvation takes place in a moment of time) but we do well to present the whole picture when presenting the Gospel to people. Salvation is by grace (alone) through faith (alone) in Christ (alone), as we place our faith in the person and work of Christ. Following Christ can be costly but what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his own soul. If you want a more expanded treatment on the subject, consider a series of books written by John MacArthur and Charles Ryrie/Zane Hodges. There was a back and forth on this matter in the late 1980's and 1990's, sparked by MacArthur's book The Gospel According to Jesus. Here is a sermon transcript of MacAurthur's re: this question when he preached through Luke 9.