Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Prayer for Finishing Well in the Gospel with Our Friends

HT: Scotty Smith

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 Jesus, I’m so grateful for the dear friends you’ve woven into my life—a Gospel posse of rich diversity. Since I’m 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 friends’ caskets, and other friends will do the same for me one day. More than ever, I want us to finish well together—together in the gospel. What will this look like and what will it require of us, Jesus?
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.
Yet, Jesus, we’re still foolish people, capable of acting out in very destructive ways, prone to wander, easy targets for temptation. We can play games and avoid one another at precisely the times we need each other the most. Help us never to minimize or marginalize the deceitfulness and hardening power of sin. Help us take each other’s heart struggles seriously.
With all of my being, I trust in the grip and sufficiency of your grace; I know that you willcomplete the work of salvation in us. But your Word is so very clear that continuance in gospel faith is a sign of a real faith. “We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.” That doesn’t scare me, but it does sober me.
Jesus, may we hold each other accountable for believing and trusting fully in the gospel. There’s no greater gift we can give each other, none. Keep giving us fun times together, but even more so, give us a growing faith in you, our all-gracious Savior. Give us passion and persistence in preaching the gospel to our hearts daily, until this day gives way to the Day of your longed-for return. So very Amen I pray, in your all-glorious and loving name.

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