The author of Hebrews says that without this constant encouragement, we are prone to the “hardness of the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13). Without the encouraging word of the gospel preached to us every single day from within and from without, we are likely to instead believe the lie of the devil. We will become discouraged and calloused to biblical truth. We will build walls with Satan’s lies that block out the light of Christ.
“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 3:13
In this verse, the writer of Hebrews is encouraging the church to be the church. That is, he is telling us something of what it means to live in a community with brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a responsibility that is laid upon all of us once we join the family of faith. Here we learn what it is, when we’re to do it, and why it’s so important.
The What of Exhorting One Another
First, the “what.” The Greek word translated “exhort” (parakleite) is the word of strong encouragement. Maybe you recognize it from the word Paraclete, an older term referring to the Holy Spirit and referred to by Jesus as “the comforter” or “the helper” (John 14:16). This word is often used in secular Greek literature of the naval or military commander putting strength into his sailors or soldiers.
Thus, believers are expected to exercise a daily, cheering ministry to other Christians. We are not meant to be a burden: nitpicking at all the things we think people are doing wrong or could be doing better. We are not meant to sit in judgment over others either. We are called to be cheerleaders. We are to mimic those traits of the Holy Spirit and be a help and an encouragement.