“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:12-13
It is the Author’s observation here, that sin is so deceitful, and hardens the heart against the sweet motions of the Spirit so quickly, that we need daily exhortations to guard against it.
One does not need to put butter in a blast chiller to get it to harden, they need only remove it from any heat source – just leave it alone.
This is how the souls of men are. There is an inertia to our remaining sinfulness. Even nature teaches us that a “body at rest tends to stay at rest”. If it is not moved – it will not move. Simply left to themselves, not brought near to the flame, our hearts congeal and harden without any additional influence. Time in the Word, time in prayer, exposing ourselves to spiritual matters from reliable sources which bring us before the throne of grace again to warm our hearts is a constant need, not some mere, perfunctory religious duty.
Beloved, find some time today, some place, to bring your heart near the flame of Christ’s loving grace and mercy so as to melt you afresh. It takes only the shortest amount of time for the hardness to begin settling in – for sin to deceive us that something else is more important, more necessary.
The text says to exhort one another every day while we are here in this regard. Consider this my attempt to exhort you. And if you can, encourage and challenge someone else to beware the deceitful and hardening tendency of indwelling sin. And if nothing else – exhort yourself. Don’t let the day go without some time spent drawing near to the throne of grace. Warm your own heart with a fresh visit to the Cross.
I am reminded of the strains of Fanny Crosby’s sweet hymn:
1 Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain;
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.
In the cross, in the cross
Be my glory ever,
Till my ransomed soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
2 Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the Bright and Morning Star
Shed His beams around me. [Refrain]
3 Near the cross! O lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me. [Refrain]
4 Near the cross! I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever;
Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river. [Refrain]