I never thought of John as a hard gospel; it is beautiful, and Jesus says hard things sometimes, but it isn't hard book. I began a Bible study on John that I was very excited about getting. It is rich. The booklet has the whole gospel of John along with extensive notes on the translation, the words, the historical and cultural background, interpretations through the church, et cetera; then, in the back it has questions for understanding and for application for each chapter of the gospel.
This is where it becomes difficult, with questions like, "How unconditionally do you do whatever Jesus tells you to do? Do you ever try to place limits on what he can tell you to do?"
That is not the most difficult, but neither is it the most easy. Two chapters into the study and both times the "application" questions take longer than the "understanding" ones and both times have found me feeling...well, let's just say I am more aware of my failings and more aware of the work I need to let God do in my life. That is a good thing, but it is hard. I would not have described myself as shallow, but perhaps I was deceived by listening to much to people's admiration. Perhaps I was deceived by comparing myself to the world around me even though I didn't see myself doing that. I tried to live a righteous life; I was aware of my dependence on God; but I too was aware of having higher moral standards than many of my generation. It slips in so easily, Pride. There is no room for pride in the body of Christ. It corrupts. But, just as Christ drove out the merchandisers and animals from the outer courts of the temple, He can cleanse my mind and heart. So, with a bit of stinging may this corruption be taken away so that I can more fully reflect God's grace and truth.