I was pondering the difficulty of losing or distancing friends when we stand so boldly for truth, and God brought this passage to mind: John 6:60-71. Go read it if you need some encouragement in this regard! What strikes me is that the disciples said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" But Jesus knew that the flesh wars against the spirit and that in our flesh, we have a hard time with the tough spiritual truths. Verses 66-67: "After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, 'Do you want to go away as well?'"
Isn't this exactly what we experience when we speak Jesus' words? When we follow in His footsteps? Many of our friends...the very ones who claim to know and love Jesus...turn away from us and leave us to our "zealous fanaticism." I wonder if Jesus, in His humanity, perhaps felt those same feelings of rejection and sadness that we experience? I believe so. The Bible tells us that "we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses" (Heb. 4:15). Yet He did not give into the temptation to wallow or be self-focused.
But Jesus "gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." So, keep being zealous for good works! God sees it and He knows your heart and your fleshly struggles. And, "declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you" (Titus 2:14-15).