Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
I’ve always enjoyed this proverb for several reasons. Most important one for me is that it drives home the point of being on guard and ready to debate and philosophize with our Christian brothers and sisters. Indeed, this could be about everything and anything particularly scripture.
When iron blades are rubbed together, each becomes sharper and thus more effective. Likewise, when believers are involved in one another’s lives, mutual edification occurs.
There is mutual benefit in the rubbing of two iron blades together; the edges not only become sharper but corrosive rust is removed, making the knives more efficient in their task to cut and slice.
Don’t be rusty and blunt
One of the most obvious properties of iron that we can all, most likely, say we’ve seen on tools that have not been in active use for a while is rust. Iron corrodes when exposed to the elements, and we’ve all seen the bright orange or red hues on our vehicles, on some sad piece of equipment rotting away in a field, or on a long-forgotten tool in our garage.
Most of us as Christians are like blunt rusty knives. We fill ourselves with the word but never want to be sharpened. Full of the word but not necessarily useful or effective in our calling with regards Ministry. What good and of what use is a rusty blunt knife?
When we interact, when we discuss scripture. In those times that we delve into the context and meaning of scripture. In those moments when we discuss and challenge false teachers and teachings on how certain doctrines and practices do not align or square up to the word of God we are sharpening ourselves.
Deeper significance of this Proverb
Do not be a docile Christian who thinks agreeing with everything and everyone is the way of a peaceful Christian. That is being a blunt knife. Do not allow yourself to gather rust. I pray that we can begin to see the deeper significance of this Proverb. Let us not become rusty through fear to interact and negation of the word of God.
If a Christian is docile they continue to be identified as Christian. If a knife is blunt, it still continues to be a knife. Although it is less effective, less useful in service. We all have the potential to be sharper in the word of God but it takes doing.
Indeed iron sharpens iron
There is a property of iron that bears mentioning, and that is the ability to abrade itself. As one takes two like pieces of iron (without getting too technical and for the sake of argument assume these pieces of metal are alike in all manner) and rub them together, one does not preferentially abrade the other. They both begin to wear upon the other and remove the surface impurities, defects and high spots until they become smooth.
Does it not seem then that, through this smoothness and removal of all defects, the iron shines brilliantly in the light of the sun? So, too, does our engagement with those who love Jesus Christ. Indeed iron sharpens iron.
Let us therefore be encouraged to spend more time together, exhorting, encouraging, praying, admonishing, sharing God’s Word, praying over God’s Word and the needs of our local church, that we become sharper, more cutting in the ministry that the Lord has assigned to each of us.
“Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17
Article Written By Brilliant Pongo
Brilliant Pongo is a Christian author and motivational speaker. He has written a number of books on several Christian topics click here for more
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