June 9, 2011
Everyone is terrified to be known! With that first tentative step into community, you risk being known. That includes the good, the bad and the ugly. Putting yourself out there is scary, but what if you ignore Gods commission and live in isolation? What is at stake when we fail to live life as God defined it? It is not our acceptance by God. Your salvation was eternally secure from the very moment you entrusted yourself to Jesus. However, your unbelief and mistrust of God will short-circuit the life God desires to give you.
It is easy to play mind games with yourself and think if you disregard what God is saying to you in one area, that your unbelief wont adversely affect other areas of your spiritual life. The truth is, as many of us have learned the hard way, disregarding God in any way will eventually corrupt every aspect of our relationship with God.
12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called Today, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Sin is seductive, enticing, deceitful and, eventually, hardening. It cannot deliver what it promises. Sin promises pleasure, but that is fleeting, which only fuels the fire of addiction. Hardness in Hebrews 3:13 is translated from the Greek word for callus. Calluses form on the palms of your hands from constant hard use. Calluses, like a hardened heart, do not form overnight.
We are so depraved that, left alone, we will fall into unbelief and will deceive ourselves the entire time we are spiraling more and more out of control. This is why we need the protection of honest involvement with others who are trying to listen to Gods voice.
COMMUNITY PROMOTES FORMATION. In community, we can not only grow in our faith by reading and studying Gods Word, but by sharing our struggles, confessing when we have gotten off-track before it goes on too long, and challenging each other. The encouragement we receive from members of our community prevents us from falling away and becoming hardened.