"And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me."
What does Christ mean when He tells us to take up our cross and follow Him? What is the cross that we must bear? Those that do not do it are not worthy of Christ.
Jesus had just previously said that, in order to be His follower, a person must place Him above all other things, including one's own parents and children. In verse 38, Christ is saying that His people must love Him more than life itself. Christ wants His people to be faithful to Him. He desires for us to live a life of faithfulness and repentance.
Think of this statement that Jesus has made. How many people would follow a man who taught that they must put Him first above all? This man would be hailed as a raving lunatic, instead of a teacher. That's because Jesus is much more than just a teacher: He is the Son of God, the Savior of the world.
The cross we must carry is faithful submission to Him. If we cannot do that, we are not worthy of His salvation. But if we live a life of repentance and faithful submission to Him, we are blessed above all others.