Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
Often, those who are the fiercest of competitors become the closest of friends. Why? Because they made the other one better. They challenged each other to be at their best.
A person that will challenge you to be more is a true friend.
I can find those who will give platitudes and praise. But, to find that one who will see more and challenge me to reach my potential, that one is a true friend.
So, what does it mean when God says, “Iron sharpeneth iron?”
If you have ever struck one piece of iron against another, you know that sparks fly, heat is generated and reveals the pure nature of the metal.
In a relationship, it is not always smooth to admonish someone, correct someone, or point out a flaw. It is doubly hard when we are emotionally invested and close to that person.
The treasure of a relationship is when we allow that one access and permission to review our life and challenge us to become more.
At first, we may feel vulnerable, under the scrutiny of another. But, when we entrust that one with the position of overseer, judge, and permit them to stop us when they feel we are endangering ourselves or others, we can truly appreciate their friendship and ultimately grow close.
If you have read the Word of God for any length of time, you realize that God knows us better than we know ourselves. Allowing God to point out our flaws, puts Him in the position to admonish us, stop us, and push us when we need it most.
Through prayer, we need to invite God into that innermost part to examine our hearts and reveal to us what we cannot see or are unwilling to engage.
Not only should we invite God into that inner sanctum of our life, but there also needs to be a human being that we ask into that part of our lives. Our pastor should have such liberty in our lives.
My pastor once said, “You need someone in your life that is willing to tell you what you are not willing to tell yourself.” If that is not your pastor, then find that one and seek to gain their trust and begin the process of allowing them into your life.
Many will shy away from engaging because the risk of vulnerability is to great to endure.
Some had suffered at the hands of another when they allowed someone in, and they were betrayed or abused. There will always be that risk. There are no guarantees with a man.
But, if we ask God to guide us to that someone who will be that iron that who, when they strike us, helps us to become more. He will lead us to that one who may very well become our best friend in the end.
We are losing our sense of adventure. We have grown comfortable not taking risks. Males today are not challenged to become what God created us to be.
We need to conquer.
We need to build.
We need adventure.
We need to explore.
Many will never venture forth because of the fear of failure. Wisdom teaches us that we learn far more in defeat than we do in victory. So, what is it that we truly fear?
Failure causes us to examine our life in such a way that is raw, unadulterated. A friend who will walk with us on that journey is a true friend indeed. Sometimes, emotions run high. Anger may arise, and words aren’t chosen as carefully as we might like.
When love, acceptance, and protection is secure in that relationship, we can process through just about anything. We can take constructive criticism, maybe even a harsh rebuke.
A pastor will work hard to ensure that his congregation knows that he loves them. That way, when the preaching and teaching strikes a nerve, there is an understanding that he says it because he loves you and isn’t just beating the sheep into submission.
A parent, a close friend, or a pastor will be in that position many a time in a relationship. When we invest in their life, we are building trust that when we need to strike our iron against theirs, they will receive it in love.
The purifying process of precious metals will create heat and impurities that will need discarding. It takes a discerning eye to see that we are holding on to something we need to strike from our life. It may be a habit, an activity, or even a relationship that is not good for us.
Allowing that person to have the ability and opportunity to confront us, ultimately helps to grow us into what will be truly pleasing to God.
If you have such a one, thank God and pray that He oversees that relationship.
If you do not, pray that God leads you to that one who will lovingly confront you when needed, comfort you in times of trouble, and love you.
God sees what we can become. He sees our potential. He uses others to guide us through that process and knows that both will be better for it.
Take the risk child of God. Allow yourself to become vulnerable again. Pray for God to guide you to the right person, and you will find a true friend indeed!