“But exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
In Christ we are to be each other’s cheerleaders, not critics.
Oh how prone we are to the “evil eye” (Mt. 7:1-5)! Oh how quickly our tongues “slice-and-dice” others’ behavior, character and reputation instead of edifying them (building them up) through words of exhortation and encouragement.
No wonder the Body of Christ is so sick!
We’re our own worst enemies! And, as someone sadly put it, “We’re the only army that shoots its wounded.”
So true, so true.
That’s why we should “exhort one another daily”. . .for, if we, who call ourselves “brothers-and-sisters-in-Christ” don’t do it. . .who will?
The Greek word “parakaleo” is used here for “exhort” and also means “to call near, invite, invoke, beseech, implore, entreat, intercede for, etc.” Thus, it’s the picture of one who deeply cares for another and wants him/her to succeed.
Yet, too often, when we see a brother or sister struggling, we remain standoffish. Aloof. Judgmental. Sort of like the Pharisees who pulled their “robes of self-righteousness” tightly around them when they’re around “sinners,” forgetting that they were also sinners, too.
Yes, dear Pilgrim, we’re all in danger of “hardening our hearts” (Heb. 3:8). We’re all guilty of “grieving Christ’s Holy Heart and straying from the straight-and-narrow” (v.10). We’re all susceptible to succumbing to “an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God through the deceitfulness of sin” (vv.12-13).
That’s why it’s imperative for us, when we “see a brother-or-sister-in-Christ in a fault, to go to him/her in a spirit of meekness in an attempt to restore them” (Gal. 6:1). And, again, it must be in “a spirit of meekness/humility,” lest we end up doing more damage in the process.
Truly, there are none of us who are free from sin. There are none of us who don’t wobble in our spiritual walk. There are none of us who have any hope apart from God’s Mercy and Grace.
Therefore, it behooves us to love others as Christ has loved us. We should always be ready to “speak the truth,” but make sure we do it “in love” (Eph. 4:15). Too often our tongues are loose on both ends and wagging in the middle and we engage in wholesale criticism of another instead of Christlike exhortation.
May the Holy Spirit help us to learn how to “exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today’.” This will definitely take God’s Wisdom (James 3:13-18), the Spirit’s timing and aid (Prov. 25:11; 26:4-5; Eccl. 3:7b). And, in so doing, we are insuring that God’s House (the Church) will stay strong and continue unabated in the furtherance of His Kingdom work.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated January 16, 2011