“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” (Hebrews 3:12-13)
I received a phone call the other day from a young friend. It was a girl I’ve known for a while, I’ve watched her grow up as I’ve worked for her dad many years. She’s just out of college, starting her career and looking forward to her future. She had just started attending a class at her church geared toward growing in the Word. Throughout this process the leaders were encouraging the members to find mentors while going through the program. Although we haven’t had much contact in the past few years the Lord kept placing me on her heart. When I received the call I was immediately excited because I knew the benefit to such a relationship. I had several mentors throughout my young life and the outcome was both positive and life changing. I was honored and blessed that the Lord chose and entrusted me with this amazing gift.
Not only will she benefit from this relationship, but I will as well. The encouragement will be mutual and so will the growth. This is because Jesus promised us, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them" (Matthew 18:20). This illustrates an important truth to operating in the kingdom of God. We must take the time to get together with believers to build each other up, encouraging and praying for one another. The writer of Hebrews says the same thing in the passage we are looking at, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13). The reasoning is to protect our hearts, choosing rather to be built up by the body, finding encouragement in the Lord.
The Unbelieving Heart is Like a Cancer
We are warned to protect our hearts. This is because a sinful, unbelieving heart causes us to become insensitive to God. It is like cancer that slowly eats away at our ability to trust and rely on Him. This does not happen overnight but like a callous thickened by constant rubbing, our hearts can become hard and insensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. This happens when we are swept away by the deceitfulness of sin. The Amplified Bible puts it this way, “[Therefore beware] brethren, take care, lest there be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving heart [which refuses to cleave to, trust in, and rely on Him], leading you to turn away and desert or stand aloof from the living God. But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him]” (Hebrews 3:12-13 Amp). Unbelief is the end result of a choice. The choice may seem insignificant at the time, but overexposure to the lure of this world will wreak havoc on your heart and your ability to trust God.
The Remedy is Daily Encouragement in Christ
If overexposure to sin causes hardness of heart, then being built up and encouraged daily will prove just the opposite. It will keep our hearts soft, pliable and receptive to the Lord. This is why the writer of Hebrews instructs us to find daily encouragement in one another, because it strengthens us for the day ahead. Encouragement of this type comes in experiencing the body of believers who were meant to share life with. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25). Knowing that Jesus promises to be in the middle of the relationship, when we share our lives with other believers drawing encouragement from them we are also built up in faith; ready to operate as God’s ambassadors in this world.
With this wonderful truth in mind, I am looking forward to my weekly mentoring meetings. We will have a chance to share our hearts, study the word and pray together. Finding both joy and encouragement in each other’s lives. We will rejoice and celebrate the Lord Jesus, being built up in the faith; waiting expectantly for amazing things to result from our time together.
Tomorrow we will look at Hebrews 3:14; Having Confidence in Christ