I would not know Kanye West’s music if I heard it, but I am aware of who he is, and he has made news recently in his public “like” of President Trump. It is interesting to me because of the intense backlash that has impacted him personally. Public figures supporting Trump in any way even if only a little is an unforgivable evil for those in media. It is also an apparent betrayal in many evangelical circles as well. Here is a quote from Kanye where he talks about the pressure he was under to avoid freely speaking his mind on this topic.
“Everyone around me tried to pick my candidate for me, and then told me every time I said I liked Trump that I couldn’t say it out loud or my career would be over, I’d get kicked out of the black community,” he said. “So even when I said it right before I went to the hospital and I expressed myself… When I came out I had lost my confidence. And it took me a year and a half to have the confidence to stand up and put on the hat, no matter what the consequences were.
This is the way the world works. Everyone is expected to be part of the tribe and to follow the party line. The more power, riches, or fame the more one has to lose by breaking from the group. Deviation from the framework will cause one to be separate from the crowd. I personally feel that my views of the world are like walking upstream. From politics, to personal use of technology, to how children should be raised I have always followed a less than popular path to the frustration of my own extended family. My service to Christ only highlights this even more. Jesus said the way to God is a narrow path (Matt 7:13-14) but the church and especially the world are always looking to make that path wider. Making a path set by God wider is problematic and impossible.
39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. Hebrews 10:39 ESV
Following the narrow path is not easy. Walking upstream against the flow is filled with all kinds of pressure that limits career and community opportunities. The word for soul here in Hebrews is the Greek word ψυχή (psyche) which houses the core of our feelings and desires of the heart. My desires are formed on the narrow path and are driven by the Spirit of God that has taken residence in my heart. God’s spirit has invaded my psyche and pushes me down this hard way. Leading up to this pronouncement of preserving the soul and not shrinking back the author gives examples of what he means.
32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. Hebrews 10:32-36 ESV
The narrow path is the will of God. That path looks different for everyone in actual execution but the path remains narrow because of the sacrifice of comfort and peace in this world by those who follow.
14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:14 ESV
The Christians this author is addressing have lost their homes, joyfully accepting the loss he adds, plundering of property, shamed in public, and standing with those who went through the same. I am anonymous in this world and have never experienced this kind of resistance. How would my soul my psyche handle that kind of abuse? Would I see the conclusion that I am not one to shrink back because I have faith? I pray I have been practiced with small amounts of public shame so that if and when the big one hits God has prepared me.
He has promised as much. He will have prepared his children to endure what is needed. Shrinking back is not an option because my very core and foundations are built in him who has already walked that narrow way.
19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf Hebrews 6:19-20 ESV