Sharp or Dull Friend

I’m not sure what kind of friend maker you are, but I am definitely interested in whether you are a sharpening or a dulling friend.  I know you think I’ve lost my mind. 

Let’s check out two pieces of scripture: 

Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us “Let us consider how to stimulate one another on to love and good deeds not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another: and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” 

Proverbs 27:17 tells us “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” 

I’ve told you how much I love word studies, so I did another one here on stimulate. (Side Note: If you are wondering how I choose what words to do a word study on let me give you some advice. Pick words that stand out in the text, key words, or main action words.) 

Stimulate means “to stir up, provoke. In a good sense, a sharpening; using figuratively meaning an encouragement to some action or feeling.” 

So the author of Hebrews is asking or telling the Hebrews to provoke each other toward love and good deeds. Hmm…what do you think it means to provoke toward love and good deeds? I deal with students every week, and as a youth worker I see what a lot of friendships look like. A lot of the provoking I see even with church goers is provoking toward unGodliness. There are a lot of people who would call themselves your friend who are not provoking you to love and good deeds. They are provoking you to a lot of things, but they are not loving nor are they good!  We live in a world where drugs, alcohol, and sex are provoked upon you on a daily basis. The world doesn’t provoke us to love others and walk in good deeds does it? 

So I need to ask you.  What kind of people are you surrounding yourself with? Are they friends who encourage you to go to church, spend time in the Word, and live it out? Are those in your closest circle of friends hearers and doers of the Word (James 1:22-25)? Are they encouraging you to be more and more like Christ or more and more like the world?  What kinds of things do you talk about? I don’t want you to be legalistic here, but what your friends say and do says so much about their heart.  So what are they provoking you toward? 

But wait. What about you? What kind of friend are you? Are you encouraging your friends to know Christ better, to know His Word better, and to live out His Word in their lives? You see sharp friends sharpen their friends. Remember that verse in Proverbs?  We are called to sharpen each other.  That is a part of what true community and fellowship looks like.  So how are you doing? Are you provoking and encouraging your friends toward love and good deeds? Or are you just a dull knife? 

I have been blessed with some friends who have provoked me toward love and good deeds.  They do it in all kinds of ways.  I have friends who have lived out Godly Christian lives before me.  They have shown me what it looks like to live like Christ.  Then I have those friends that will tell me like it is.  They will be honest with me and confront me when I am out of line with what Scripture says. What I want you to get is that there are all types of ways for us to provoke one another toward love and good deeds, but are we doing it? If sharp friends sharpen their friends are you sharpening? Are you being sharpened? If not, then you should really take a look at your circle of friends, because something needs to change. 

 

Ashlee is a native New Mexican living as a missionary in Texas. She is a small group leader in the youth group of her church and has been involved with Transform Student Ministries for 13 years. She knows she brings nothing to the table with her relationship with God and any ministry He allows her to be a part of.  She is a hostile enveloped in the grace of God.

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09.23.11

[…] I don’t think it has always been easy for me to build friendships. I remember as a kid praying at night with my mom and dad and asking for a best friend. My parents would pray that the Lord would send me someone who would be a good influence and be that “iron sharpening iron” that Ashlee talked about in last week’s blog post.  […]

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