Iron Sharpens Iron

Complimentary Story
March 2024

   “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 ESV)

   I have always been fascinated by metal work in its various forms. I thought about what it must have been like to shape a piece of steel into a horseshoe on my grandfather’s farm for one of his Belgian work horses. In our day, when we need something, we just go and buy it. However, when my grandfathers were growing up, and raising a family, very often if they could not make it, they went without.

   I love to see how a knife is honed to a razor-sharp edge by careful and meticulous sharpening in the hands of a skilled craftsman that knows what they are doing. To get a good edge on a knife, you must use some kind of abrasive, whether that be a wet stone, diamond stone, sandpaper, or a metal sharpening rod. To get a sharp knife, you must remove metal. You do not just remove metal here and there and expect to have a sharp knife. The metal must be removed with precision and intention. A knife must be lapped over and over to create a burr that appears as a razor-thin wire at the apex of the blade. Once you have created a burr on one side, you methodically do the very same thing on the other side. Once you develop a burr on both sides you take something less aggressive, such as a piece of leather or ceramic and you strop the blade until it is razor-sharp.

   I share this because I want Christians to understand that for us to become sharp, effective, and really become who Christ intends us to be as believers, we must go through a sharpening process.

   Like a blacksmith forging a blade, a chain, or a horseshoe, we as believers in Christ must be placed into the fire from which we can be shaped into something useful. It is not always pleasant to go through the crucible of life, and experience trial by fire, but it is necessary.

   Like sharpening a blade, if we wish to be useful some things must be removed from our life by the skilled hand of the Lord Almighty.

   If I am being completely honest though, I think that within American Christianity we have a whole drawer full of dull knives. We cannot expect to attend church for an hour on Sunday and then go out and live for the entirety of the other six days and expect to be effective in our walk with Christ.

   Rather than submitting to one another and choosing to be accountable amongst the brethren, we have withdrawn from most any process that would allow men to be iron that sharpen iron today in the American church.

   Because of our fear of man, we have perverted the gospel and watered it down into a cheap and unbiblical prosperity doctrine which serves to do nothing more than shipwreck the faith of the weak and enrich those who are purveyors of such ungodly doctrines. We must recognize that we are not called to a life of comfort, but as Scripture says, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12 KJV).

   Men used to rush headlong into battles. Men once stood for that which was right. Even within the history of this country, there were those who were not professing believers, yet they recognized the need for our nation to be governed by the moral values that were contained within the pages of Scripture. Now we must search high and low, even within the Church, to find men of character, men who will stand for what is right.

   It is hard to stand alone, though it is often necessary. However, as Christians, we can thank God we do not have to stand alone. Jesus Christ promised to never leave us or forsake us. We have other brothers and sisters in Christ who will stand with us and who can help bear the burden of the load we carry.

   At my church, our men’s group has chosen the verse, “Iron sharpens iron, as one man sharpens another” to be the theme verse for our group. We recognize the value and the necessity of standing alongside one another and helping to sharpen one another in our walk with Jesus Christ our Lord. In a time when very few people will stand for what is right, it becomes more important that those that we surround ourselves with can sharpen us and add to our faith in Christ. We need to seek out Christians who can encourage us, those who will help hold us accountable and to persevere in the faith. We must unapologetically stand for Christ. Who is sharpening you? Whose life are you sharpening?


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