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  • Shawn Thornton

Who Sharpens Your Life?

Tuesday - October 27th

Scripture to Read Today: Proverbs 27:1-27

As iron sharpens iron,

so one person sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17


No material can shape and sharpen an iron weapon more than another iron implement. There is mutual benefit in the rubbing of two iron blades together. The edges become sharper, making the knives or swords more efficient in cutting. Sometimes an iron hammer forges a sharp edge on an iron sword or knife heated by fire. Iron sharpens iron.

Proverbs 27:17 uses this imagery of improving the efficiency of an iron implement to describe the encouraging, uplifting, and enhancing relationship God's people should have with each other. Iron sharpening iron has several vital components that mirror one person sharpening another.

When iron sharpens iron, the two implements make contact. For one person to impact the life of another profoundly, there must also be contact. While nationally known Bible teachers that I do not know personally have had a good effect on my life, their impact has been limited. God does use them. But Christian friends in my life who spend time with me affect my thinking and way of life more deeply. We spend time together. We talk through real-life pressures, scenarios, and opportunities. We wrestle through what God's Word says about each of these areas of life. We pray together, serve together, worship together, and grow together. We make contact.

Of course, in our COVID-19 world, we may not be physically together as much and as openly as we were pre-COVID. With modern technology, we have many other great ways to remain in contact with each other. We can stir up various levels of fellowship where iron can sharpen iron. Meeting within guidelines and restrictions continues to be necessary. But, using text messaging, FaceTime, Zoom, and social media, we can continue to engage with one another. A text of encouragement makes a difference. We need to be creative and flexible in how we make contact.

When iron meets iron, the friction, heat, and force of the contact initiate change. That change brings improvement and greater efficiency of the weapon being shaped. We should welcome the voice of a Christian friend into our lives. They should be able to encourage us when we live in alignment with God's Word. They should have permission to exhort us when we live in disobedience to what God has said.

Both encouragement and exhortation will be at the core of what it means that one person sharpens another. If a close Christian friend you trust can only encourage you but does not have your permission to confront you when you sin, the results will be remarkably limited. If a friend only exhorts but never encourages, the result will be a defeated and depleted person - not a sharpened one.

When one life sharpens another, it is simultaneously comfortable and uncomfortable. But that kind of sharpening pays off. We always get better when we allow others to speak into our lives for good and God.

Do you have a handful of people whose presence in your life sharpen who you are? It is reciprocal. Would they say you sharpen them by your presence in their lives? If not, look for someone with whom you can cultivate healthy iron sharpening iron life!

God puts other followers of Christ in our lives so we can sharpen each other in how we think and live!

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