A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Prov. 17:17    

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Gal. 6:2

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. Heb. 3:12-14

Dear Lord Jesus, I’m so grateful for the good friends you’ve woven into my life. As an introvert, the journey of investing my heart in long-term relationships has required, and still requires, a lot of your grace—grace that you’ve been faithful to supply.

I’ve already gripped the handle of a couple of friend’s caskets, and other friends will do the same for me one day. More than ever, I want us to finish well together in the gospel. What will this look like and what will it require, Lord Jesus?

My joy, but also my temptation, is to treat my easiest friendships like a broken-in pair of Birkenstocks—I just enjoy them without much thought or effort. It’s a great gift to have a few friends who can finish each other’s sentences, endure one another’s jokes, appreciate each other’s quirks, and accept one another’s weaknesses. Surely this is a gospel gift—no need to pose, posture or perform; we can simply be who we are with one another.

Yet, Lord, each of us is still easy targets for temptation, prone to wander, and quite capable of acting out in very destructive. With all of my being, I trust in the grip of your grace and the eternal security of your Bride; but your Word clearly affirms that continuance in gospel is a sign of spiritual reality. That doesn’t scare me, but it does sober me.

Help me and my friends know how to hold each other accountable for believing the gospel. Help us take each other’s heart struggles seriously and bear each other’s burdens gladly. Don’t let us ever minimize or marginalize the deceitfulness and hardening power of sin.

Lord Jesus, show us how to provoke each other to love and good deeds. Help us accept one another without acquiescing to one another’s foolishness. Help us stay vigilant in preaching the gospel to our own hearts daily, and regularly to each other; until this day gives way to the Day of your longed-for return. So very Amen I pray, in your all-glorious safe-keeping name.

 

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Scotty Smith


Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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