I like to think I have a pretty thick skin---or at least that I'm pretty good at faking it and letting hard things slide off my back. Truth is, depending on the day, sometimes I let people really get to me.
It's different now that I've left the socially acceptable way of following God and have gone rogue with a bunch of other zealots. In the church, there was mutual acceptance. I accepted what was taught for that particular denomination, they accepted me as a member and let me minister there. Now that I've taken ministry into my own hands, it's not unbelievers who come against me---it's churchies.
I'm thinking of Paul. He wasn't imprisoned for bringing the nourishment of Scriptural truth to a society that was starving for it; no, he was imprisoned for stirring the pot, for shining the light of truth on a society that wanted to continue living in darkness. Paul tried to open the eyes of the willfully blind and the purposefully ignorant---he was a thorn in the side of every person who fleetingly felt convicted by his words.
I've been mocked for comparing myself to Paul (like he's some kind of higher saint, rather than just a regular dude serving God) but he's our biggest example of faithfulness in the New Testament, besides Yeshua. He was literally put there as an example to follow. When I think about how much it stinks to question whether I should share truth today and risk having to fight bad feelings toward former friends, I think about Paul in Philippians chapter 1.
"But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel…and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear."
I know the persecution I'm facing as a minister of the gospel on social media is laughable in the face of what Paul went through---but the emotions are similar. Reading that portion of Scripture this morning, the Father showed me a couple reasons why He's got me in the stocks, 21st century style:
Through Paul's example of faithfulness in the face of persecution, others were made bold to share the truth, too. If I will keep my temper, stick to Scripture, and pick my battles, the Father will use my example to embolden others as witnesses, also.
Additionally, we need to realize that this is just the beginning of persecutions. The narrow path is unpalatable to anyone not on it, but especially to those who think they are but are shown they're not. In short: compromisers don't like to have their reasons debunked. The persecution is gonna get a lot hotter and a lot heavier---and it's going to come mainly from those who've "Got Jesus" but don't understand what it means to surrender to Him.
To those of us who are truly walking out this narrow path and trying to reach those around us, let's be so careful to keep our temper, stick to Scripture, and pick our battles. There are arguments out there that just. don't. matter. and we clutter up our ministry by focusing on the noneternal. If you spend more time on flat earth or calendar arguments than you do on ministering about Yeshua and His ways, (Matt. 28:19-20) you're wasting your time. Stop picking apart the little things the enemy is distracting you with and train yourself to go after the really big spiritual warfare stuff. You were shown the narrow path of Revelation 12:17 for a reason.
There. There's my pep talk for the day. For me and maybe for you. Shalom.