Hebrews 3:12-14 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
In Hebrews 12:1-2, we are told ‘…and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith…’
Hebrews 12 is the goal when it comes to faith – illustrating faith as a race we are called to run the race to the very end.
But Hebrews 3 is the reason why people do not persevere, or why they drop out of the race – it’s because of a heart of unbelief. Unbelief is the absence of faith.
We do not suddenly wake up one morning to discover that we now have a heart of unbelief.
Rather it is something that we drift towards. In the same way, a boat without a rudder will drift on the ocean currents, pushed by changing winds, if we have no moral compass steering our lives we will drift away from God. Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith is that inner compass that brings purpose and direction in life.
And there are some specific things the author of Hebrews tells us which prevent that slow drift called the hardening of our heart. We see several keys in chapter 4:
1. Fear God. Hebrews 4:1 “…let us fear [God] lest any of you seem to have come short of it…”.
Proverbs 1:7 says that fearing God is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. This fear is not being fearful but it’s also not carrying a familiarity that breeds disrespect and dishonor. It’s knowing He is the source/provider of life.
2. Obedience. Hebrews 4:6 reveals it was disobedience that prevented the Israelites from entering the Promised Land.
Most people do not contemplate the decision of obedience until they are at the crossroads – but often that’s too late. But what the text is really talking about is obedience to a life of ‘faith’ – to believing God and remaining in faith. Israel didn’t mix faith with their knowledge about God and thus didn’t enter into the Promised Land.
3. Diligent. Hebrews 4:11 says “Let us, therefore, be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.”
What the author is saying is don’t be casual drifting in and out of faith – be diligent to remain in faith. Whenever you can sense you are going to fear or doubt or unbelief, arrest yourself and shift your focus back to God’s Word.
4. Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 tells us what we need to be diligent toward – it’s the Word of God.
God’s Word is living, it is alive and will get deep into your soul and spirit. It is the seed of faith that once planted will cause you to go to faith – to believe!
Hebrews 3:13 says to exhort one another daily – in other words, establish daily routines, set aside time with God on a daily basis so you are not drifting away from God but growing in God.