Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
King Solomon lived in a time when iron swords were commonplace. For those swords to stay sharp and effective, they needed to be sharpened regularly with iron. The same is true with the benefit that is gained when disciples get together and challenge each other to grow in the things of God. Christians, who sharpen each other in friendship, keep their spiritual lives effective and powerful.
The author of Hebrews wrote, “24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25). The idea of “spurring” is the same as “sharpening.” We should always want to encourage our friends to love God and do good deeds. That is why we should never neglect church or consistent fellowship with other disciples.
You were never meant to live out Christianity alone because a sword cannot sharpen itself. As iron needs iron to stay sharp, you need godly people in your life to grow!
We all have dull spots in our lives, areas we have overlooked or become complacent in and the only way we can notice it, is when God uses someone to sharpen us. When a good brother or sister challenges our weaknesses and sharpens them with their wisdom, the benefits are tremendous.
When iron sharpens iron there may be sparks. But this is just part of the process and is natural to healthy dialogue. When our lives are being sharpened, sparks are harmless as long as everyone remains in love. Certainly, we should all be mindful not to be argumentative, prideful or offensive in our approach, but I’d rather have “wild fire” than “no fire!” Paul said in Galatians 4:18, “It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good.” A wise man once said, “We’re not really friends until I’ve told you you’re wrong and you still love me.”
Here are some ways to get your iron sharpened; (1) Have theological discussions with Christians who believe differently than you, (2) Regularly meet with an accountability partner that gives you constructive criticism and (3) Be a teacher of the Word of God that is teachable. In other words, be a life long disciple that makes disciples (Matthew 28:20).
Do you have people in your life to sharpen your iron?
- Pray for the people in your life that sharpen your iron.
- Be willing to sharpen others as you are being sharpened.
- Stay humble and teachable, remember, you don’t know it all!