I’m going to end my comments for now on Hebrews 3:13 by focusing on how often we need encouraged, and what serious result one can prevent when practicing biblical encouragement.
First of all, our reception of encouragement, as well as our handing out of encouragement is to be a daily exercise. “Each day” speaks of continually or constantly doing something. We must not put off encouraging until tomorrow when we could be encouraging someone today. The phrase “as long as it is called today” conveys a sense of urgency that the recipients of this letter give immediate heed to the voice of God. To repeat, “each day” speaks of how often we need encouragement. We need encouragement each and every day. We need encouragement as long as it is called today. Tell me, when is it ever not today?
The reason we need daily encouragement is because sin is very deceptive by nature, and the more we sin, the harder our hearts become toward God. The sin of jealousy caused Cain to kill his brother. The sin of fear caused Abraham to lie. The sin of pride caused Saul to offer a forbidden sacrifice. The sin of adultery caused David to murder. If you have ever been around those trapped in sin, it’s quite amazing how deeply they are deceived. They will say anything or do anything to justify their sin.
In the case of the original recipients of this letter, there were some who were being deceived into returning to their old ways of religion. Rather than continuing to follow Christ, they were abandoning Him. They were abandoning Him to go back to the priests, the sacrifices, the rituals, the feasts. Considering the greatness and glory of Christ, their actions made absolutely no sense. But sin is deceitful. The ultimate deception is when we think we could never be deceived.
There is enough in this world and in this life to discourage us that we need encouragement. In fact, I’ve never met a human being yet who said they’ve received all the encouragement they will ever need. There is enough to pull us away from Christ or distract us that we need the help of others to stay focused and committed. There’s the pull of the world (1 John 2:16) and the pull of our flesh (1 John 2:16). Our spiritual enemy is after us like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8) and is firing flaming arrows at us (Ephesians 5:16). We need others to come alongside of us to say, “Keep going. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Hang in there. Jesus is worth it. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Glory is waiting for you.”
“A word at the right time – how good it is!” (Proverbs 15:23)