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To Jump or to Dabble?

As he read, I fell in love with the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once. — John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

On a hot day, the lake hosts two groups of people: those who jump right in, and those who dabble at the edge of the water. I wonder what keeps the dabblers dabbling. Why don’t they take the plunge?

The same hesitation happens at church. Some are “all in” while others wait. They show up on Sunday, participate in a small group, and volunteer. They’re willing to be busy, but they’re not believers.

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. (Hebrews 3:12)

Who is at risk of turning away from God—believers or unbelievers?

“Brothers and sisters” tells us the group being addressed is within the church community. The author knows the church is home to both those who take the plunge and those who only dabble. So to those hanging out at the edge, the author says, “Watch your heart.” If you aren’t in Christ, you’re at risk for heart-hardening.

The heart is described with two adjectives in this passage, sinful and unbelieving:

  • The word sinful means “malicious, wicked, and evil.” It’s the kind of evil that corrupts anyone around you.
  • Unbelieving is the Greek word apistos, and it is the opposite of believing. It is the lack of acknowledgment that Christ is who He said He is—a refusal to trust in Jesus.

Knowing this, can a wicked, unbelieving heart that declined the invitation to trust Jesus belong to a believer? No. Absolutely not. Sometimes, those in Christ are uncertain of their salvation, feeling as though they can slip out of God’s grace at any moment. However, no such thing can happen. That is not what this verse says.

Instead, this text is a love-filled warning to those who are dabbling at the edges: Watch your heart. Don’t wait so long that you turn your back to God. If you hear His voice today, take the plunge. 

Jesus, thank You for the heart check today. Like a child sitting at the edge of the pool, You don’t ask me to be the best swimmer; You only ask that I trust Your invitation to jump. What grace! I accept. Amen.

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