"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end."
This is a good scripture... so often we see others, or ourselves, challenging boundaries or losing the spirit... and this encourages us to exhort one another daily. I don't think it means “condemn” … just exhort. :) The first verse talks about being aware of your own spirituality, and where your heart is... is it embracing God, or is there something that is in the way? Doubts, fears, obstacles...? I think that is an introspective deal, and then the next verse... encourage each other to righteousness. It helps if we know how each other's souls are doing. :) It is easy to get hardened. We have moments of incredible clarity in our lives, and usually much longer moments of trial. We don't know the state of anyone else's soul... but if we talk about the gospel, if we encourage them in doing good, in being filled with light... then we are doing what we need to do. Some days I have a really hard time even remembering that God is there, and I feel really black... and someone comes along, reminding me that Satan’s reality isn't the only one to consider. We need to do that for each other sometimes. Sin is deceitful. It makes us think that reality is one way, all of it, everywhere... when what we see is just a tiny speck of reality. A quote I read when I was doing research on rural education says that when people get isolated and lonely sometimes they are "forced to seek safety rather than satisfaction" despite the fact that they claim the opposite. I thought that was interesting... that they feel the need to make a choice between those two things. Sometimes when we are feeling black, and get hardened and insensitive to the spirit... we feel like we have to make choices... either safety or satisfaction, either happiness or a clear conscience... so many hellish choices. But if we can shake of the blackness for a few hours, we see that we can have safety AND satisfaction... happiness AND a clear conscience. God isn't the one asking us to make those choices.... Satan is. Let's remind each other not to be deceived. And the last verse... consistency. :) That’s what it is all about, right? Getting the clarity every day... living well all the time... having confidence in God today, and tomorrow, and always. And I think that if we take this verse without the other two, it can seem overwhelming... I think it is impossible to have this confidence all the time, by ourselves. That’s why we have each other... as a reminder. We need each other to strengthen our confidence... to remind us of who we are, and how amazingly cool God is... that he deserves every bit of our confidence... because he is always there, always loving us, always working for our good... always listening, always answering. Always.