Our pursuit of Christ is driven by joy. God is not out to destroy our joy, on the contrary, He is after our greatest joy. Jesus is not just better than hardships, He is better than the best stuff in life – sex, good food & drink, fulfilling relationships, healthy marriages, great kids, etc. The gospels are filled with statements calling us to loose our life in order to find true life.1 Yes, we must deny, follow, love everything less than Christ and be willing to give it all for Him and His kingdom. The question is, “Why?” Is it just our duty? Is it just what is required? Is it because Jesus does not want us to enjoy anything in this life? No! It is because Jesus is after our greatest joy. He is calling us to exchange that which is fleeting and temporal for that which is ultimate, eternal joy.2
1 As an example: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:24–26 ESV)
2 For further information, see Jesus is After our Joy.