But encourage one another day after day, as long as it still called, “Today,” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13
Encourage – If we only knew the Greek! What a difference it might make in the way we understand “encourage” and “exhort.” Here is the word parakaleite. Do you recognize the “Paraclete” part? The verb literally means, “To call alongside.” We see it in words like aid, comfort, encourage, beseech, entreat and admonish. It should remind you of the three roles of the Holy Spirit – to convict, to teach and to judge. The Holy Spirit is called alongside by Christ Himself to be our constant companion and inexhaustible aid. He prays on our behalf. He brings to mind the truth of Jesus. He gently rebukes. He is the paradigm of encouragement.
The author of Hebrews certainly knew the deep spiritual connection when he chose this verb. He puts is as an imperative. This is not an optional part of following in the footsteps of Jesus. You are expected to act as aid, teacher, reminder, exhorter and admonisher. Is that how you encourage each other? Are you fulfilling the high calling of the Spirit with each other every day?
The pilgrimage of the Christian is a long and difficult one. We do not belong here. Consequently, we are uncomfortable in this world and the world is disturbed by us. Our very presence should call into question every system that the world holds dear. Jesus spoke the absolute truth when He said that the world would hate us. How could it be any other way? To be friends (the verb is phileo – brotherly affection) with the world is to be an enemy of God. With so much at stake, we will need all the aid we can find – and most of that must come from fellow travelers.
Once again we find that theme of community; a theme that dominates the idea of those called by the Lord. In a real sense, there is no such thing as an individual Christian. There is the Body which connects us all. Rethinking our Greek world will require that we put aside many of the systems that promote, support and praise individuality. We belong together. We stand and fall together. We need each other in ways only the Spirit truly understands.
Today, while it is still day, you are called to come alongside. You are called to be the encourager of someone who is spiritually connected to you and who needs your involvement.
Who cries for you? Why do you hesitate?