Heb 3 and Phone a Friend (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today…if you hear his voice…do not harden your heart…where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore, I was provoked with that generation, and said, “They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways….”
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort (or encourage) one another EVERY DAY, as long as it is called “today”, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Excerpts from Heb 3:7-13
Observation: Let’s see: I have a hardening heart potential. I can provoke God. I can go astray because of not knowing His ways. Beat’s me, but it looks like something I need to pay attention to…Why, it could be a thinly veiled warning…
Analysis: Of course, it is a warning. The writer of Hebrews is virtually whacking me between the eyes with a scriptural 2×4. “Wake UP!! Don’t miss this!!”
Verse 12 and 13 gets referenced a lot. It is one of those seminal (formative and important) verses about the conduct of a disciple. Exhort one another: Urge, press, push. Or encourage one another (NAS): Inspire, hearten, cheer.
Depending on the version of the NT read, a person can have a different mind and action about how to fulfill this section of scripture as an action. Give a guy an “Uncle Harry” talk, getting a backside in gear (for whatever situation), or an “Aunt Mary” hug, telling them whatever is happening will be “okay.”
The focus then becomes about what a person does for a singular and recognizable situation: Biblically and with gentleness kick them or give them a Jesus hug—all in an “appropriate” circumstance.
I am going to pull this apart even more. The one excerpt from Verses 12-13 that doesn’t get as much attention to is the “Every Day” piece.
The insinuation, no, the PLAIN and VISIBLE direction is that Disciple-wannabes TALK to each other. All the time. Frequently. So much so, that when the need comes up to address sin or a sensation of my friend starting to go down a path where they shouldn’t be going, they have a constant companion right there.
But better than pulling someone out of the dastardly clutches of sin, is the effort made to (on a daily basis) tromp up the Mount of God together, climb the Mountain of the Lord, walk the Narrow Path of righteousness—“There they go, just a walking down the Street.”
Do you think this is hard? I do. I fail often when the Holy Spirit puts someone on my heart to contact.
Is this necessary, I mean, making effort to contacting a brother? While someone could read this section of Scripture and say, “That is for caring for an unbeliever”, take note: The writer of Hebrews is addressing a Local Church. A Local Church—just like ours.
Are there “wobbly” Christians in our midst? Of course. Given some days, I fit that bill like the Mona Lisa. I can be the picture of “wobbly.”
Point is we all need contact to help us remember whom we serve so that we don’t, little by little, inch by inch, yield to a little unrighteousness here and a little more there.
Make it a point to “phone a friend.” Frequently. Make it a disciple, then a habit.
Prayer: Father, please increase this longing in me to do just what I am writing about. It is so very valuable to the maturity of the Local Church. AMEN.