Read: “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17, NLT).
Think About It: “If you ever see me living in a way that is contrary to what I say I stand for, please tell me.” Just shy of twenty, the young college student spoke to his mentor in a manner that hungered for guidance, challenge, and even correction. At a young age he had already accomplished so much. With desires, ambition, and a heart so full of compassion for others that it leaks, he sees the whole world before him full of opportunities to take and dreams to be discovered. He also has grown to realize that no matter how far he has come, it hasn’t been a road traveled alone. He has benefited from the wisdom, experiences, successes, and failures of those who have elected to share their stories as his own is still being written. He, in response, has chosen to listen. Just as his position at this point of the journey hasn’t been alone, He understands that all future legs of his voyage through life will be successful if he remains humble, teachable, and open to those he knows God has placed in his life. There are times when the advice is received as easy as a cold drink on a hot day. Other times it’s as bitter as vinegar, yet even then, he knows there is a purpose behind the principles that, when learned and applied, will carry him closer to the destiny God has already designed.
Going Deeper: “As iron sharpens iron” is a phrase that has weaponry implications. It is an idea that irons are used together with the purpose of sharpening, and preparing a weapon for war. One iron by itself may have the shape, the substance, and the potential, but alone, will never be as effective as intended. So it is with each man and woman that God has fashioned out of His own likeness. There is a need to be challenged, cut, shaped, sharpened, and polished. No one person has all that they need alone. Your life is not perfect. Your life is a process that aims to take you from you are at this moment and perfect you until you are all He desires you to be. You can’t do that on your own. Through a relationship with Jesus Christ, God weaves and crisscrosses paths and people until the right people are on the right path to help shape on another. Don’t fear the sharpening. It may hurt when you are “rubbed the wrong way.” Don’t get mad at the devil, because God knows just who to place in your life to show you what you need to see and need to learn about you.
Next Step: Are you teachable? Are you as opened to being challenged as you are to challenging others? Do you find yourself around those, at times, that annoy you the most, push all the buttons, and leave you feeling frustrated or angry? Thank God for those people. As you are praying for God to fix them, take a minute and ask God this: “God, is there something in them that you see in me?” “Lord, what are you wanting to teach me by allowing them to be in my life.” Sometimes it’s not you that God is using to fix them. It is with you that God is choosing to use them to sharpen you, to smooth off the rough edges of your pride, and to polish you with the humility and grace that shines the brightness of Christ.