Recognizing what’s wrong with your own behaviour is the first step to changing it. The second is accepting that such behaviour is stupid. These proverbs therefore use humour to make their point – on laziness, “I was only joking”, gossip, hypocrisy, malice, etc.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another,” 27 v17
How good is this for us (men and women) to hear and reflect on, to wrestle with and examine what it means for our lives.
We’re not talking here about being argumentative or hyper-critical, God’s word is not saying harp on at each other or harangue into submission.
HEALTHY discussion, rebuke, encourage is the order of the day.
In Hebrews ch 10 we read, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
God has blessed us with preaching, which does just this. God’s word preached to us sharpens us! Preaching from the pulpit each new sabbath, and preaching as we do in our lives throughout the week.
As Paul says to Timothy in 2 Tim 4, “… Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
This is a good thing for our ministers to dwell on, but it’s also for all of God’s people to hear! As our minds are aligned towards Jesus, so our conversations will be seasoned with Him, His words, His thoughts – And then in which we are preaching to one another the good news!
In Colossians 4 Paul says, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
Sharpening people is not about being a sharp sword of truth or wit at all times. The element of grace is powerful!
However, at times rebuke is a part of sharpening one another. We read Jesus’ words to Peter in Matthew 16, “But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.'”
Paul has another great passage in 1 Thessalonians that shows the reality of what it means to sharpen one another, “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” And much more in there.
In the end though, it is God’s sharpening and refining that oversees our own (often broken) thoughts, words and deeds with one another in His family.
From Romans 8, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
How good is that! We have the best of helpers, who actually makes us better!
* Saviour God, please may we be sharpened and refined by You, Your Spirit helping us in our weakness. May any sharpening of one another as Your people we are accorded to be a part of, may we be full of grace, seasoned with salt, to reflect Your glory.
Thank You for Jesus! That He is the RIGHT Man who always makes us better people.
Thank You for the Spirit! That He is the best helper, supernaturally causing us to be made more and more like Jesus.
And Thank You Father for Your love for us, that while we were still sinners, Your Son Jesus, the Christ, died for us.