See to it, brothers, 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 we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. Hebrews 3:12-14
Dear Lord Jesus, I’ve found myself profoundly grateful of late for the dear friends you’ve woven into my life. Being rather the 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 so faithful to supply.
Having already gripped the handle of a couple of friend’s caskets, and knowing one day some of my buddies will honor me in the same way, I so want us to finish well in the gospel together. Lord Jesus, I’m moved to ponder what that needs to look like as long as it’s still called Today.
My temptation is to treat my most “comfortable” friendships like a well-broken-in pair of Birkenstocks—I just enjoy them without much thought or effort. And to be honest, Lord, I really like that and I praise you for such a sweet gift. It feels so good to have a few precious friends who can finish each other’s sentences… endure one another’s jokes… appreciate each other’s quirks… and accept one another’s brokenness and weaknesses. Surely, this is a gospel-gift.
Yet, Lord Jesus, please show me… show us, what it means to encourage one another in the gospel daily. With all of my being, I do believe in the “final perseverance of the saints,” but I equally believe that it’s the saints who will finally persevere. Your Word is so very clear… continuance in gospel-faith is a sign of a real faith. That doesn’t scare me, but is surely and appropriately sobers me.
Help me and my friends know how to hold each other accountable for believing the gospel, Lord Jesus. Help us to take each other’s heart-struggles seriously. Help us never to minimize nor marginalize the deceitfulness and hardening power of sin. Help us know how to preach the gospel to our own hearts daily, and to each other’s hearts increasingly, until Today gives way to the Day. So very Amen, I pray, in your all glorious name.