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You have one job. Why the actual Hell doesn't want you to do it.
Keeping the heart soft like so much wet cement.
Each of us has a heart like a cement truck. And the output of our hearts is like soft cement.
When poured out, the substance helps build the foundations of the world. Spaces and structures that last for generations, shelter families, gather communities. But if the drum stops moving, the cement hardens and the heavy heart seizes. The outflow stops. Growth and development stalls.
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That big drum of our heart must constantly move and turn. And it’s faith and encouragement that drive the momentum.
The writer of Hebrews highlights a daily need for encouragement. We need to give encouragement and receive it so that our hearts aren’t hardened.
But sweet nothings in the collective ear aren’t enough. Holding firm to Christ is essential. And speaking truth, speaking words of life, into the circumstances of friends and family builds faith that keeps the heart soft.
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
What a humbling thought! There’s not a day that each of us don’t need encouragement. There are no days off.
This daily churning: belief, encouragement, relenting, remembering, obeying is highlighted in the famous passage in Hebrews that defines the rest of God. That’s the job. Not all do it. And when these tell-tale signs of faith are absent, it’s evident.
In you and in me.
Like me, you may not have to think very long or hard about how the actions or the words of others can slow the drum, stop up the momentum of the cement mixer, harden the heart.
Thankful for the big therefores
Every day that we need encouragement, there are also things that can stall us out, harden our hearts. A mean tweet, a tone-deaf text or email, the grind of work and life. Health issues and stress. If I extend the list further your encouragement might start to dwindle, so I’ll stop there to focus on a critical therefore.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
In all the competition for your attention today, I hope you’ll find some hope in this reminder: there’s a way to keep the heart soft. Sharing a word of encouragement to another can help the cement mix flow. Remembering a kind word from a friend can churn the barrel all over again.
How interesting that the faith we need in order to believe comes in tandem with the encouragement we share and receive.
Hell wants you to forget it. But Heaven makes it possible for the heart to be renewed again.