“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. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:13-14 ESV).
Like most people, I tend to think about myself far too much. I think about my relationship with Christ, myself, my family, my friends. And oftentimes, even when I think of others, I am thinking about how it benefits me.
I am the eye telling the hand I don’t have a use for it (1 Corinthians 12:21).
But as my time on this spinning orb increases, I become more and more convinced that I need every member of the body of Christ. From the least to the greatest we all have a part to play. We are not all called to the ministry of an Evangelist, but we all are called to share Jesus with others. We are not all called to Pastor, but we are all called to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2 ESV).
For we all have different strengths and weaknesses. I may be strong where you are weak, enabling me to help you walk through your trials; likewise, your strengths may be able to help me in my areas of weakness. It’s like the way that the white blood cells can fight off sickness in ways that the red blood cells cannot.
God has placed strategically in the Body so that we can be like the white blood cells, protecting those in the body that don’t have the strength to protect themselves. He tells us in Hebrews 3:13 that we are to exhort one another. Exhort means encourage and persuade. We’re specifically told to exhort each other so that the deceitfulness of sin doesn’t harden us.
Remember that one person’s weakness is another person’s strength? The strong is there to keep the weak from being tricked into thinking that something sinful is not sinful, there to encourage growth that brings clarity to the scriptures and how we are to live.
I’ve always been taught that when we see the word for in the scriptures we should look back to see what it’s there FOR. Verse 14 explains why we need to exhort one another: because we share in Christ!
It strengthens the entire Body when each individual member of the Body becomes stronger. In sports it is often said that a team is only as strong as its weakest member. If three of a team’s four linemen are stout against the rush, but one is not, the quarterback will find himself on the run on a regular basis. But if all four are strong, the quarterback will have the time in the pocket that he needs to find the open receiver.
In order to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20), we need to strengthen, encourage, and exhort each other as members of one team, the Body of Christ. We will never reach the world by fighting with each other; nor will we do so in our own strength.
We need each other.