You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that
none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God(v.13).
The film Dead Poets Society introduced me to an old
phrase from a Latin poem: carpe diem. It means
“seize the day,” an urgent call to live life to the
fullest, getting the most out of each and every day.
Generally speaking, it’s good advice, especially for
those of us who to tend to live passively and watch life
pass us by.
The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews also
focused on the urgency of “today” (3:7-15). Drawing
on that tragic time in Israel’s history when its people fell
into decades of unbelief and rebellion in the wilderness,
he impressed upon his Christian readers a sense of the
urgent when it came to their walk with God. In light of
what happened to the Israelites in the Sinai desert, the
writer of Hebrews exhorted his readers to be careful not
to make the same mistake and to warn each other while
it is still “today” (v.13).
Like the Israelites, Christians can let sinful unbelief
linger in their hearts. Left unchecked, it will eventually
harden them toward God. While it’s still “today,” while
there’s still opportunity, that is, Christians can spot
unconstrained unbelief in themselves or others and do
the right thing. Genuinely concerned Christians can offer
others the kindness of their involvement and can present
loving, truthful feedback that will sound the alarm about
the perils of sin’s deceitfulness.
The writer of Hebrews is not encouraging Christians
to meddle. He is, however, encouraging us to first “listen” to what God’s Spirit
is telling us about any unbelief lying around in our own hearts (v.7). And he’s
calling us to be involved in each other’s lives so that we can caution a fellow
Christian whose heart is in danger of becoming hardened towards God.
Read Hebrews 10:24. Note how the author balances his call to warn
fellow Christians about the dangers of unbelief with a call to think actively
of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
What unbelief in your heart do you need to present to God? If
necessary, how will you lovingly address the sin in
a friend’s life this week?