Sometimes, in the midst of the struggles we face in our walk with God, it can feel as if everyone else is doing okay and we are the only ones wrestling with our faith. It is only when someone else talks about similar issues that we realise we are not alone. That is the reason I started this blog, to share my own experiences of the journey to help others in the same place. It is always my hope that someone will connect with the words I feel God gives me each week and are encouraged, challenged or inspired. Someone shared last week’s blog https://www.hillfieldschurch.org/post/god-s-on-the-line-pick-up on Facebook saying that it had really made them think. When I saw that person later on in church, I thanked them for their encouragement as I’m not always sure my blogs are useful. Each of us, in turn, were blessed by the other.
Proverbs 27: 17 says, ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.’ In old testament times, one iron blade was used to sharpen another until both became more effective as tools. One iron blade cannot sharpen itself and so on its own, over time, becomes dull and ineffective. In much the same way we, as Christians, are called to a life of relationship and service, not only to God, but to one another. The writer of Hebrews tells us to ‘consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.’
In the sharpening process, the two blades come together. Any rust is stripped away and blunt edges are honed. In addition, friction increases the temperature of the surface so that tiny pieces of iron can heat up and begin to glow, producing sparks. When we gather together as Christians, we sharpen each other in much the same way. We can share knowledge, wisdom and insight; we can bring a new perspective; we can encourage, challenge, guide and discipline and in turn, we can receive these things from others. This sharpening is a two-way venture.
As this happens, our dull surface is stripped away, our rough edges are knocked off and our usefulness honed. Sparks fly! We become a sharper tool to be used for God’s kingdom. Even so, the process is an ongoing one...a constant stripping away, sharpening and honing of ourselves and those we fellowship with so that we remain sharp.
All of this takes a level of honesty and vulnerability. It takes courage to tell someone if you are struggling; it takes courage to share your own weaknesses in order to help someone with theirs. It takes courage to teach; it takes courage admit you have things to learn. It takes courage to step up, it takes courage to take a step back. The sharpening process can be painful for many different reasons but ultimately, brings glory to God (1 Peter 1: 7; Isaiah 48: 10) and promotes our own spiritual growth (Romans 5: 3-5).
Are you in need of sharpening today? Do you have something to offer that can help sharpen others? Seek God as to which areas of your faith-life need refining, or which of your gifts can be used to hone those who are feeling a little blunt. Most importantly, keep gathering so that we can sharpen each other and make sparks fly!
(Jamie got to my computer while I was doing some recording for Joab and added this: “I have a pencil sharpener if anyone wants to borrow it should you feel you need to keep your pencil sharp for writing all your notes or even better all your words from God.”)