According to Galatians, the “acts of the flesh are obvious” (Galatians 5:19). Especially compared to the fruit of the Spirit, they are easy to recognize. But Paul also says in the book of Romans that sin seized an opportunity to deceive him (Romans 7:11). So, sin is also tricky. The book of Hebrews agrees. There is a “deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).
Our story of faith almost begins with that acknowledgment. Genesis begins, of course, with God. Before long, though, a gaslighting serpent takes our focus off of God.
Isn’t that what sin can do?
As easy as it is to recognize acts of the flesh, the fruit of the Spirit isn’t hard to distinguish. So, we can sense ourselves trading the life-giving fruit for the selfish acts. But sin tells us otherwise. We see the gas lighting dim, but sin’s deception makes us question. I’m not sure I’d ever encourage anyone to confess that “the devil made me do it.” I will say again, though, sin is tricky.
The writer of Hebrews knows this and wants us to stand firm against such deception. Part of the encouragement of Hebrews is encouragement. That as brothers and sisters of faith, “as long as it is called today,” we are to encourage one another. Now, this is more than a have-a-nice-day kind of cheer. It is more a I-want-Jesus-to-walk-with-us faith. And if Jesus is willing to walk with us, we encourage each other to walk with him.
But notice that’s something we do today. Note, too, that tomorrow will be a today. And so will the next day. When we do something every day, it becomes a part of who we are. Encouraging each other to faith, then, is something ingrained within our fellowship. To be sure, this is all done in love and with compassion. We aren’t to be spiritual white glove inspectors. After all, we, too, can be easily deceived.
So, today, let me encourage you to follow Christ. To be obedient today to what you hear God saying and how you sense God leading. If you need help listening and discerning, that’s what the church is here for. Let us help you. You help me!
And tomorrow will be another today.