Thomas à Kempis wrote;
"Jesus has always many who love His heavenly kingdom, but few who bear His cross. He has many who desire consolation, but few who care for trial. He finds many to share His table, but a few to take part in His fasting. All desire to be happy with Him; few wish to suffer anything for Him. Many follow Him to the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the chalice of His passion. Many revere His miracles; few approach the shame of the Cross. Many love Him as long as they encounter no hardship; many praise and bless Him as they receive some comfort from Him."
And while my own American 21st century culture is fundamentally no different from others of the past, I still see things quite similar to this just as Kempis did in the latter half of the 14th century.
I still see it in myself.
Originally upon my true meeting of the biblical Jesus, as opposed to my cultural pop Jesus, I was obviously floored by what he offered me, forgiveness with His heavenly Father, entrance into His kingdom and family, not to mention greater purpose and meaning in this life than I could ever have otherwise, and believe me I was quite desperate for such things. But as I have known Jesus for some time now and as I have fallen deeper in love of Him and in awe of Him, I have realized that there is quite a difference between loving Jesus because He is exceptionally wonderful and all together unlike me, and loving Him because of what He can offer me.
"There is a great difference between loving Christ because He is exceptionally wonderful and all together unlike me, and loving Him because of what He can offer me."
Sure originally I was enamored, as well I should have been, by the great vastness of reward that Jesus offered me in His Father's grace, that I, a wicked sinner, could be pardoned and set free ... and I am still grateful to this day, not less, but ever increasing. However I have also increased in my appreciation and awe of who Jesus is in his character and glory -- the patience, love, humility, lack of vengeance toward his oppressors, his ever steadfastness to His Father's cause, even at the peril of His own life, reputation and family.
I seem to realize more and more that this Jesus is the Christ, and is totally worthy of following, I pray even to a cross.