Avoid the Lonely Path (Encouragement)
“See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living 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 3:12-13 NIV
Over the years, I have struggled with this passage a little bit. Like most men, over the years my friendships have dwindled to next to nothing. Family, work, and even church responsibilities have made it hard to build and maintain relationships/friendships with like minded men.
Even as a younger man, college student, even high school student, I knew a lot of people. I hung out with everybody and had no real close circle of friends. There were guys that I hung with more than others, and there were and have been a lot of good times. However, I would only allow folks to get just so close.
Even when I allowed myself to be a part of a small group where we committed to accountability, to encouragement, to Bible Study, I would commit to the group, to the men in the group, but never to the point to where I bared my soul. Even though I longed to have that kind of friendship. That Paul - Timothy mentor-type relationship with an older man or that Jonathan-David kind of friendship between peers, rarely would that depth ever happen due to one reason/set of circumstances or another.
Because of my arms length approach to friendships and accountability, there were many a time that I found myself standing alone when I needed a friend or a mentor or the support of a small group. There were many times that an accountability partner or group would have been beneficial as I struggled and floundered through an issue or situation. There were many times when the encouragement of a brother in Christ would have helped give me the strength and courage I would have needed to walk in the right direction or make the best choice.
But instead of the 2 or 3 corded rope, I walked alone (knowing that I was never really alone with Jesus.) Never as strong as I could’ve been. Probably struggling more that I should have.
All along with a smile on my face. So, no one knew what hid beneath the mask.
I share this not as a pity party or some deep contemplation, but in hope of encouraging us, especially the men, to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and open in small groups... to encourage us to encourage one another daily in our walk with Christ... to hold one another accountable as we face the sinful world as Believers striving to be like Christ.
“Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” - Hebrews 3:12-13 NASB
Keep the Faith... Carpe Diem