In ancient times, cities were surrounded by huge brick walls with paths and watchtowers. The people on the wall would watch for any danger or visitors and keep the city strong and safe. They endured through the night to keep watch and they fought through the battles to keep the inhabitants safe. These walls were built to last as were many of the great ancient cathedrals. They were built to endure. I have never been more struck by this than standing the at the feet of the pillars of the Pantheon in Rome where Paul made his appeal to King Agrippa. I was amazed that I could stand on the same stones as the Apostle Paul. I was deeply encouraged to endure.
Hebrews 3:14 says, “Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. for we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.” There are three ideas that strike me today from this passage. We need each other to endure, sin is deceiving, and Jesus is looking for those who endure to the end and do not waver, compromise, or shrink away from the high calling of following him.
There is a daily element to staying alert and there is a relational element to staying in the game. I need to e exhorted every day, encouraged and inspired every day by others. I need to surround myself with others who exhort me and who I exhort and encourage in their faith. There is wisdom and experience in these words. The writer knows that the smallest sin can open a door of deceitfulness and isolation. It is our nature to hide sin and so we isolate ourselves, either physically or emotionally or spiritually. We need people around us who can see through that and will exhort us to endure to the end.
I also must be sharp. My discernment and wisdom must be honed to see when my brothers are hiding or deceived or shrinking back. They need me to see through their efforts to isolate themselves and to exhort them to stay alert and to stay on the wall of watchfulness. Life in the Kingdom is a marathon. Jesus is looking for those who endure to the end with a faith of fruit and fire. In the end, Jesus will be looking for those on the wall, standing a post, holding fast to their original confidence, pure and true.
With deep humility, we need to seek the power of the Holy Spirit and the exhortation of our brothers and sisters EVERY DAY if we hope to endure.
Will you be on the wall when he returns?