The problem for the first hearers of the book of Hebrews was they faced danger from the world. Temptation existed to forsake their faith in Christ and to stop believing in the promises of God.
Like with Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness, some of the believers had begun to doubt there was a “promised land” to which God was leading them. They began to look back longingly toward their slavery in Egypt.
Christians can do this today. “Wasn’t it a lot more fun when I was doing this or that, when I was making that kind of money, when I was hanging out with those people on the weekends, when I could engage in these other kinds of activities?”
And a Christian can begin to take a longing look backward, forgetting the awful truth that those things in the past, those things of their old self, were the things of slavery. A desire can creep into our lives to give up on the faith and to give up on Jesus.
It seems from reading Hebrews 3 that the author knew it was very likely – if not altogether certain – that a doubting believer would fall back into slavery without the help of the church.
“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
As Christians, we need an active and faithful church family. Our brothers and sisters in Christ can exhort us to stay strong in the faith, even when doubts and wayward desires creep into our lives. The mutual encouragement helps to keep before us the vision of God’s faithfulness. We are in this together.
We should not be naïve and think we easily can live this Christian life on our own. This would be naïve because we must recognize there always will be some “voices” in our lives drawing us toward something. The world will always be drawing us toward itself – through the people we know and the media we consume.
To stay in the faith, we need other “voices” speaking to us. We need people of the faith speaking constantly – as long as it is “today” – into our lives about the goodness and grace of Jesus Christ. We need that reinforcement.
Think on these things today. Who is doing the “exhorting” in your life?