Independence has always been kind of cool in popular culture. Alone, our square-jawed hero vanquishes the enemy with determined ease, then saunters into the evening fog with nary a backward glance.
It’s romantic in the movies but stinks in real life, and the writer of Hebrews (a mystery man himself) knows it.
“Take care,” he warns in chapter 3. (Being careful doesn’t seem that cool, but it appears to be important here.)
“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.” Falling away from the living God, by the way, is worse than being riddled with bullets or eaten by aliens. It’s the scariest thing there is.
“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.”
Turn off the fog machine because it looks like there is no lone hero here. We can’t go it alone; in fact, we’re supposed to be strongly encouraging each other—“every day, as long as it is called ‘today’.” I’m no Bible scholar, but last time I checked, today was called today.
The deceitfulness of sin, in my experience, often comes in whispers.
You’re not going to make it.
God won’t forgive you for that.
The Christian life is too hard.
God won’t be faithful in this situation.
He only loves you because he has to.
It’s deceit. And listen Lone Ranger, we’re all vulnerable to it. Our guns and holsters and masks might look good, but they’re no match for these kinds of enemies. What we really need is each other.
Since today is called today, I’ll take my turn to exhort myself as well as you:
Don’t fall away from the living God. Don’t buy the deceitful lies. I know they sound true. I know it’s hard. I know it seems easier out there. But the living God is a million times more powerful and holy and beautiful and faithful than any cheap fix you’ll get elsewhere. You’re going to make it, not because you’re amazing, but because he’s amazing. He’ll forgive you, not because you deserve it but because he paid your ransom. The Christian life is hard but full of deep joy. God will be faithful in every situation. And he cherishes you because he is Love.
I hope that refreshes your memory. Please remind me tomorrow, as I’m sure I will have plenty of deceitful whispers in my ear, and I don’t want to walk into the fog of the future with an unbelieving heart.