Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God. But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. Hebrews 3:12-13
Team is an important concept in football. It is impossible to move the ball down the field into the end zone without the unique blend of individuals on the offense of a football team. It is also impossible to stop the ball on defense without all the working pieces - the line, linebackers and defensive backs. Games are neither won nor lost solely on the ability of either unit. The effort must be that of the entire team.
Today’s verses from Hebrews 3 emphasize a defensive approach to the gospel. “Watch out,” the author urgently cautions, “so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:12) The audience to whom the address is being written are believers in Christ, but they have been pulled by the tug of sin and left shallow and immature in their belief (though the author is hopeful they too will grow in Him - see Hebrews 6). “Sin’s deception” is every bit as real in our lives today as it was for those early believers. Your belief in Christ and His transforming work in your life is precious and must be protected. You were not made to fight this battle alone. You need your TEAM around you.
The key to overcoming sin’s influence in our lives is found in verse 13. “But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.” (Hebrews 3:13) Encouragement is proactive. It focuses on the things we are already doing well. It challenges us to go deeper in our faith, growing stronger and more intimate with Christ, making us less likely to be tripped up by sin’s deception. While this “encouragement” may have to call out a teammate who is flirting with sin’s disaster, it should also be cheering that same teammate to become a more real follower of Jesus. We all need a TEAM to do this thing called life together.
What about you? Do you try to be the star of your own show? How well is that going for you? Are you part of anyone else’s team? Surround yourself with others--those to whom you can be accountable and those who will be accountable with you. And follow hard after Jesus together.