Iron Sharpens Iron
To sharpen an iron tool, you will need something of the same material. You cannot sharpen iron with a cardboard. Likewise, for a believer to grow and develop he will need to associate himself with people of good qualities. We are warned to avoid bad company, but at the same time it is important to be in the company of wise people. Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm (Proverbs 13:20 ESV).
Iron does not sharpen itself. Overtime it turns blunt, rusted and useless. Similarly, if we are on our own we lose our edge, become dull, corroded and wasted. We need to fellowship with believers so that we can get sharpened, stay focused on our walk with God, get wiser, use our gifts and serve others in return. As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend (Proverbs 27: 17 NLT).
When choosing your friends, the worst you can do, is to be in a bad company. When you are on your own, you are only limited to yourself. The best you can do is to be in the company of the wise. You find ‘iron sharpening iron people’ in Bible study groups, small groups, worship groups, prayer groups, fellowship groups, etc., but they are not limited to these groups alone. If you are married to a believer, then you are in an ‘iron sharpening iron marriage’. Your iron person could be a friend, a neighbour, a mentor, a pastor or even your child who can sharpen you in your walk of faith.
There is always so much to learn if you are willing to. When I teach my kids the ways of the Lord, they contribute to my life in return. My kids have taught me how to laugh freely, to enjoy the little things in life. Most of all being a mother has taught me to be patient, which probably I wouldn’t have learned any other way. It is necessary for you to be fellowshipping with people that are spirit filled and hunger and thirst after righteousness, as these people can watch over your blind spots and reproof you and edify you with their wisdom and gifts and you can in return enrich them with your gifts. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace (1 Peter 4: 10 ESV).
As you sow into the lives of others, ministering them with your gifts, reproving, edifying and building them up, you will in return be sharpened, reproved and edified. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3: 16-17 ESV). When iron sharpens iron, it has to be done at a certain angle and the constant friction of sharpening sometimes creates sparks. The sharpening effect in your lives also may cause discomfort, but without correction, there is no sharpening. If we are not corrected, we stay blunt and useless. The rough edges in our lives are removed by sharpening.
Our God is a God of relationship, we cannot survive in isolation. Pride leads people into isolation, where a person thinks he is better than others or he is better on his own. When we think we know it all, we probably know very little. As Aristotle quotes “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” Pride refuses to forgive as he thinks others deserve a punishment. Pride will make you bitter and lonely with rough edges and will corrode you and make you worthless. God operates in our lives through people. God promises us that He will be in our midst when we worship Him together. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18: 20 NIV).
A true friend will reprove you, however one needs to be humble to receive correction. Pride is an obstruction to any reproof. It will create corrosion and bluntness. It’s only through humility one can shed the layer of pride and get sharpened. A sharpened iron is a shinier iron. If you are proud, you will never let the light of Christ to shine in your life. Pride will diminish you, but humility will get you sharper and brighter. Hang out with people who love God, those who will sharpen you, build you, edify you and make you become sharper and shinier, all for God’s glory. Remember, sharpening has a dual effect; when you are being sharpened, you sharpen others in return. As you sow into the lives of others, so shall you reap.