S36P5– Saintly encouragement: keeping spirits sharp
Take care, brothers and sisters, that there not be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But continually encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “Today”, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
We know from scripture that iron sharpens iron. Our practical application is that members of the brethren serve to sharpen each other. If we think of a literal knife, it has one of two destinies. Either it will become sharper or it will lose its sharpness. As a knife is used, it becomes dull. There takes some intentional intervention to sharpen that knife again. The process of sharpening is not a passive, natural occurrence. It is something that is done with purpose. The same is true of our spiritual lives. We do not become sharper by simply existing. Our sharpness comes from a purposeful act. We do not need to try to be dull. That is the natural consequence when there is no intervention. If we are to maintain our sharpness and avoid spiritual hardness, we first must understand how we become dull in the first place. Today’s Scripture gives us insight into how this can happen to even the most devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
There is much deception in this world that attempts to take us away from our Father in heaven instead of toward him. Sometimes we are deceived by sin, which is the deception mentioned in today’s scripture. Other times we are deceived by people or the devil. No matter the source, it is easy for us to become hardened by these experiences and interactions over time if we do not intervene. One way that we intervene is to seek God for refreshment and renewal so that we do not grow bitter in the face of worldly opposition. Another way is to rely on our brothers and sisters for encouragement. There is a reason why God has destined more than one person for salvation. We are to be individual members of a body that coexist and help each other through the trials of this world. It is enough for God to give us himself, but He also gives us each other. If we want to stay sharp in this world and not become dull and hardened, we need encouragement from each other.
No one must teach a man to be evil. He learns that on his own. There is a natural degradation of everything around us unless someone intervenes to change or stop that process. A building that is not maintained will eventually be overtaken by the nature growing around it. We must be vigilant to maintain our spirits as there are many sources of deceit in this world that seek to overtake us. Without the proper maintenance, without godly intervention, we will simply fall. We must work to keep each other from becoming hardened and being overtaken by the evils of this world that seek to make us spiritually dull. This means not only seeking encouragement when we need it, but also being sure to give encouragement when we see another in need of it. Father, give us hearts that seek to encourage our brothers and sisters so that they do not become hardened by this world.