But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamour of his sin may play on him]. ~ Heb 3:13
Nowadays, it is common to hear of someone who has become so disenchanted with church folks that they have decided to “quit religion and pursue spirituality”: this is usually code for, “I am running my race alone, and I don’t think going to church, or being accountable to other believers is necessary for me to make it to heaven.”
This is a dangerous place to arrive at, and if you hear anyone cheering for you to go right on into this zone, it is certainly not the cloud of witnesses; the elders who in time past ran this same race, and who by faith obtained a good report (Hebrews 11). Rather, it is the devil himself, who knows that the predator’s easiest meal is the self-confident know-it-all that strays from the herd.
While the Christian race is deeply personal, God also designed for it to be very communal. “Woe to him that is alone when he falleth” (Eccl 4:10) says Solomon the wise. It is indeed woe because, Satan’s best chance at dealing us the deathblow is when we choose to isolate ourselves from fellowship.
Long absences from the warnings that regular fellowship affords us, allows us to “harden into settled rebellion.” When we are among true friends in sincere fellowship, we stand a better chance at hearing the inconvenient truths that burst the bubble of lies that we on our own may allow sin to delude us with. True fellowship is not just holy kisses, and kumbayahs; it is also stern warnings that prick the heart.
Now know this, if the devil does not succeed in getting you out of fellowship, he will try to arrange for you to be promoted above reprimand. That is just as terrible, if not worse than leaving outright, for nothing will be more tragic than to play church all your life and end up with “depart from me, I know you not.” We are to warn one another, not create exclusive classes of those who give and receive warning respectively.
Dear Lord, help me to humble myself and remain accountable to fellow believers in my daily life.