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)
Hebrews 3:12-13 is within a chapter focusing on rest. It identifies our barrier to rest as an unbelieving heart. But these two verses go further and give us two practical ways to find rest. It teaches us how to find rest.
The problem is an unbelieving heart, the first solution is a believing heart. Hebrews 3:12 warns us to Take care not to have an unbelieving heart. Believe that your rest and your happiness and your peace and your joy is found through closeness to Jesus over anything else.
So when you are in one of those stressful seasons at work, intentionally remind yourself that closeness to Jesus is where your rest is found. Instead of cutting out prayer with him because you are busy, find those moments, maybe in the car while you commute, to commune with him. So when you are grieving the loss of a relationship, believe that your friendship with Jesus is enough. As you hurt over what you have lost, believe that you can find rest through walking with Jesus. Believe in Jesus.
When Jesus died on the cross to atone for our sins, he was paying for us to have an eternal relationship with him when we die. The way we get to eternal rest is to believe in Jesus’ work on the cross for our salvation. But, Jesus was also atoning for our sin to provide for our present rest. The way we get to eternal rest is the same pathway to rest this afternoon. Believe in Jesus.
God warns us in verse 12 about moving away from God because of unbelieving hearts. But, in verse 13 the way we keep from having hard sinful hearts that don’t find rest in Jesus is by exhorting one another.
The way to find rest through the ups and downs of life is through being close to Jesus. What keeps us from closeness toJesus are hearts that don’t believe Jesus is where we will find our rest. But, the way we keep our hearts believing in Jesus is by exhorting one another.
Exhorting is one of those weird biblical words that we don’t use that often. It simply means to strongly encourage. Someone exhorts us when they lovingly speak into our lives. It is having people love us enough to have the “hard conversations” with us. It is moving from polite conversations about the weather, and our yards, and the Cowboys…to more substantive things. It isn’t permission to be rude and harsh, but to love each other enough to gently be honest. It is caring enough to point each other to Jesus.
If you aren’t connected to a church (Jesus’ body), you aren’t going to have the teaching and friendships that will constantly draw you back to finding you happiness in Jesus. You will drift toward unhappiness because you will drift toward believing all the other things in your life will make you happy. You will try to find rest in work or in a relationship or in piddling with your trinkets. However your business will fall apart and you will become miserable. Your relationship will fail you and you will become depressed. Your health will fail and you won’t get to do you hobby anymore.
We have started Redeemer Church because you were made to belong. I’m both a guy and an introvert. Men and introverts, your flesh and your “inner voice” are lying to you when they tells you that you will be more happy alone with your hobby! You need people in your life.You need friends in your life to point you back to Jesus. You need to belong to Jesus’ Body, the church, in order to find rest through the trials. We need each other!