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It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. Hebrews 13:9-10

Lord Jesus, the issue of heart care is quite personal, as many of us have lost friends and family members to heart disease--of congenital and life-choice varieties. I've also had close friends suffer heart attacks and strokes, young and old alike. This has sobered me, and led to changes in my diet and commitment to exercise. You're honored when we take care of ourselves physically. It's a part of our discipleship and one of the ways we demonstrate our love for you.

However, what will it profit us if we only eat organic non-gluten foods, run an 8 minute mile at age 65, have a cholesterol count of 125, a resting heart rate of 59 and yet have a hearts that are weak in grace? What's the point of being able to wear the same clothes we did in high school and yet still have the heart of legalists or libertines beating within us? Who wants to be physically fit and spiritually flabby?

Jesus, strengthen our hearts with the unsearchable, non-exhaustible, incomparable riches of the gospel. Lead us to the gym, training table and gospel-regimens which will cause our hearts to grow stronger and stronger in your grace. For the more our hearts are strengthened by grace the more they'll beat for your glory; the quicker and deeper will be our repentances; the less room there will be for idols, and the more fully we will love you with delight and abandon.

As our hearts are strengthened by grace, we'll throw more gospel parties and less pity parties. We won't think less of ourselves, we'll just think about ourselves less of the time. We'll keep shorter records of the ways others fail and longer records of your faithfulness to us. We'll make a bigger deal about the things that really matter, and a lesser deal about the things which simply go with life in a broken world filled with broken people. We'll live more generously and less miserly; more doxologically and less fearfully; more missionally and less obsessively...  Jesus, it's not just good, it's essential for our hearts to be strengthened by your grace. So very Amen we pray, in your kind and loving 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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