Somewhere along the way we have been infected with the notion that to lead a productive life, to enjoy a fulfilling marriage, to raise God-fearing children and to impact society – all we need to do is warm our sword (life) by the fires of church, friendships, and small group studies. It seems we have decided that progress on our journey as Christians is measured by learning more, or learning something new. Did you attend that seminar? Have you read that book? Did you enjoy the sermon?
The vast majority of us can attend all those things and never invite another believer into our world to “sharpen us”. We all seem to know the verse about “iron sharpens iron”, but are we actually living in relationship with another brother or sister who has our permission to sharpen us? Oh, how we seem to run from accountability, and hide from any opportunity to open ourselves up to any kind of criticism, challenge or correction. We (myself as chief) want to simply be left alone. I’m okay, so why make life more complicated, or messy, or painful.
A life of ease – that’s what we need. Just leave us alone and let us do our own thing, our way. We’ll still enjoy the benefits of being part of the body of Christ, but we really don’t want to get too involved. We don’t want folks meddling in our lives, and we don’t want to be burdened by someone else’s mess.
The Bible, however, paints another picture altogether. It seems no one enjoyed the coveted life of ease. Jesus sure didn’t. He was a master confronter. He didn’t leave people in the same place her found them. He challenged them, encouraged them, and sometime rebuked them – but always in love, and always with their best interests at heart. Think of the woman at the well, the cripple at Bethesda, the Pharisees, the temple merchants, the disciples, Martha, Peter,the crowds, etc. etc. He was not afraid to hold people accountable, and call them up to a higher standard.
When iron sharpening iron:
– there is heat
– there is friction
– there are sparks
– there is effort
– there is noise
But, that s what it takes to produce a sword that is sharp, and fit for battle – or to fashion a dull piece of iron into a glorious vessel useful to the creator.
Are you being sharpened? Are you sharpening someone else?
Let’s awaken from the deceitful hope of an effortless, sparkless, frictionless life. Let’s put ourselves on the anvil of God and allow Him to use His Word, His people, His process to mold and shape us into the men He has created us to be. Don’t be content to be a dull piece of iron.
You were made for more.