See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that some of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
In Hebrews 3:12-13, the writer warns believers in Christ not to have an unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. He advises them to encourage one another daily…so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.(v.13) This Scripture makes us aware of the importance of Christian fellowship when we are tempted not to believe God’s promises or when we are tempted to sin. The writer then recounts the story of the Israelites who were led out of captivity from Egypt and who wandered in the wilderness for 40 years due to their unbelief. Because of their unbelief, they were unable to enter the Promised Land! We too can have hearts hardened by unbelief.
Although it may be subtle, we may have bought into a secular worldview without being aware of it. When our hearts are hardened, it prevents us from fully entering into the promises of God. Peter exhorted his readers: Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time”. (I Peter 5:5-6) If we are willing to follow God’s Word, He will keep us from hardening our hearts and from falling into unbelief.
Christian fellowship encourages us in our faith. When we share the stories of God’s intervention in our lives with one another, this encourages and builds up our faith as a body. Perhaps if the Israelites had spent their time in community with one another, sharing stories about how God had faithfully led them out of Egypt, parted the Red Sea, and provided them with food and drink, they might not have fallen into unbelief. Instead, they grumbled and complained, forgetting what God had done for them and falling into unbelief.
Do you have Christian friends who encourage you daily in your walk with Christ? If you don’t, ask the Lord to connect you with people who will build up your faith, reminding you of the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord.
Heavenly Father, Forgive me for my unbelief. The voices of the world have been drowning out Your voice – the voice of truth. I pray that You will send me fellow travelers on this journey with You to encourage and build my faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen