But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Heb 3:13
This verse comes in the middle of an exegesis of sorts of Ps 95:7-11. The passage from Psalms discusses the rebellion of the Israelites that caused an entire generation to die in the wilderness instead of entering the Promised Land. An entire community destroyed because of the way they rallied together. They agreed with one another. Supported one another. Incited one another to disobedience.
And yet, even in the middle of this discussion, the author of Hebrews insists that community is beyond important – it is essential to the avoidance of sin.
As I read this, I see a couple of challenges. First, I am reminded of the obvious: the most ideal place for me to be is within a community of believers who will encourage and challenge me. There are times when we are called to walk this journey alone, and we must be able to have what we need to rely on Him in those times. But, we were created for communion and fellowship. I am challenged to diligently open myself up to communion and accountability.
Secondly, however, I am reminded of the extreme importance of quality in my community. The Israelites as a whole chose to side with the ten spies rather than with Joshua and Caleb. They chose community that was founded on fear, not on the promises of God. My encouragement must come from and be given to those who are hungry to receive and live in the promises of God. If they are not, I will be sped toward sin’s deceitfulness rather than be deterred from it.
Community is beautiful. Right and godly community is essential. That is what I seek.