If you have ever been to an area famous for its night life you may have been overwhelmed by the neon, the glitz, and the glitter. The finest cars in the city show up for a night that will likely include lots of drinking, perhaps some gambling, and many people trying to “get lucky.” (to put it delicately) There are going to be deals going down somewhere close by that involve illegal drugs. On the fringes, where the neon doesn’t reach, people will be robbed. Were you to wake up the next morning and visit that same area in the early sunlight that was all glitz and glamour the night before you would find an ugly, dirty, messy street. You might even wonder why you were so enamored the night before.
Sin has a way of disguising itself. When we look straight at sin, it often appears glamourous. It is enticing. It is fun. It appears to be freedom. When you get beyond the glitz of sin and see the effects it has on yourself or on others, it is disgusting. Often, we don’t recognize that truth until we are trapped in our sin and rather than repent and let God’s grace and mercy forgive us, we begin justifying our sinful actions. After all, if we can feel good about our sin, it must be ok, right? And the more we justify our sins to the outside world, the more our inner conscience reminds us of the truth. The key to righteous living, then, is to avoid getting ensnared by sin. The author of Hebrews helps us in our quest to live lives that bring honor to God. “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13)
We are reminded to encourage each other today. The author makes that point that our encouragement must happen today. Many people after attending a funeral wonder why the person honored at the funeral never got that applause in life. It’s a good point. God’s word reminds us to encourage each other daily. Sometimes that encouragement may mean that we remind someone of God’s grace when they begin traveling down the road that leads to the entanglements of sin. That kind of encouragement is rarely welcomed, but it is so necessary. The usual response is “Don’t judge me! What about your sin?” So rather than emulate the person we are seeking to encourage, perhaps the best response is, “You’re right. I do have that sin in my life. Will you pray right now that God will give me the grace to overcome it and I will pray that God will give you the grace to overcome your sin.”
Part of sin’s deceitfulness is that we often begin to think that sin is what the other person has. We don’t recognize it on ourselves. Too often we get defensive when our own sins are mentioned. Perhaps we need to remember that when we see that sin in others. The key, then, is to approach life simply. Encourage each other daily. When you see someone struggling with sin, encourage them to gain strength to overcome that sin. When you see someone ensnared by sin, encourage them by offering to pray for them and be willing to accept it when someone calls out your sin. Most importantly, do all this showing the grace and love of Jesus to other people in a spirit of humility. I’ve even heard of people who will encourage others by asking those friends to pray that they might overcome a sin similar to the one they recognize in others. Whatever you do, encourage each other daily…today.
Lord God, I need Your encouragement each and every day. Encourage me by Your word. Convict me of my need to repent. Give me the grace to live each day in Your love. Then, help me to be an encouragement to others.