Hebrews 3 has one of my favorite passages about our hearts. It contains both warnings and encouragements. God cares about the heart.
In fact, there are 805 references to the heart in Scripture.
They start in Genesis and end in Revelation. That tells me that my heart and its condition are a very big deal.
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
It's all about the heart.
Take care, brothers, that there not be in any one of you an evil,
unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.
But encourage one another day after day,
as long as it is still called, "Today,"
so that none of you will be hardened
by the deceitfulness of sin.
The word for encourage can also be translated exhort or urge. We are to always be helping one another grow up in our walk with Jesus. Sometimes, that involves pointing out what we are not doing well and at other times it is just encouraging each other as we seek to follow Jesus.
We are warned against an unbelieving heart and against a hardened heart. Both take us to a difficult place.
That got me thinking about what we can do to help each other have a tender heart toward the things of the Lord.
It also got me thinking about what we should avoid doing so that we do not contribute to someone's heart becoming hardened toward the Lord.
I believe that hard hearts can be a result of our own sin, rebellion and selfishness. I also think they can come from criticism, negativity, judgment and discouragement.
As a heart becomes hardened, the ears become a bit deaf. The voice of God is easily drowned out and eventually becomes silent.
Now, don't misunderstand me. God's voice is still there, but we tune it out to the point that we simply do not hear it anymore.
I'm not sure anything frightens me more.
How do we guard ourselves against a hardened heart?
We confess sin.
We commit to see our sin as God sees it.
We seek to have encouragers in our life that build up our faith.
We stay in the Word and are continually filled with the Spirit.
How do we encourage others to have a tender heart?
Any time I get a chance to tell someone that
God loves their tender heart ~
I do it.
Encourage others in the ways that they are like Jesus
in both their actions and their character.
Be willing to speak up if you see that crusty edge appearing on someone's heart. It is the kindest thing you could do for someone else.
Let's love one another - one tender heart to another.
God loves a tender heart.