Have you ever heard the phrase “iron sharpens iron?” When I was a child, I remember my Dad taking a sharpening rod and our kitchen knives or even his pocket knife and rubbing the two together forcefully. He told me that he was making the knife edges sharper so they would perform better with use. There is mutual benefit in two blades coming together. Both of the edges become sharper, allowing them to be more useful when cutting and slicing. It allows the knife to be used for exactly what it was created to do. The Bible actually says the same thing about friendship.
As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
This past semester of Life University, I had the privilege of leading our college and young adult ladies through the study “Find Your People - Building Deep Community in a Lonely World” by Jennie Allen. Now, I’ve been known to have a flare for the dramatic, but I’m being truthful that this book truly changed my life and how I view community, friendships, and other relationships. I encourage you to find a copy and read this book. I believe it could change your life and your perspective on community and relationships, too!
Genesis 2:18a says “And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone…” Now, I know this specific verse was talking about Adam and Eve, but it still shows a need for us to have community with other people. God created us for relationships! A relationship with Him first and foremost, but also relationships with other people!
A knife can still be used to cut and to slice even if its blade is dull. However, it would be much less effective and useful in performance. The same is true for us! God created you to do life with other people. When you are in fellowship and community with other Christians, you are sharpened in every way. You become better! God gave us the ability to sharpen one another. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
It is clear in the above verse that community and fellowship with others is a command from Scripture. Now let me tell you, I’m an introverted person, and until I read “Find Your People”, I would tell my husband all the time “I like to be by myself. I’m an introvert.” Those statements are true. But if I’m being honest, I was lonely and too scared to initiate because of the possibility of being rejected or “bothering” other people. You know what Jennie says in her book? Bother others! Ask! Initiate! Jesus looked for people to start conversations with. He initiated. He even told Zacchaeus he was going over to his house! Talk about being an initiator, wow!
Pray for friendship and deep community to mark your life.
Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” I encourage you to put yourself out there and show yourself friendly to others. Be someone who helps sharpen another person. Remember, there is mutual benefit in this - you will be sharpened too for the better!
● God, I know You created me for relationships.
● I want what You want for my life - to be in community with You and other people.
● Help me to show myself friendly and sharpen others so I may be more effective as a Christ-follower.
Thank You for creating community. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, as the perfect example for how to do life with other people. Would You help me be more like Jesus in this area? Would You help me to initiate, to seek others out, encourage them, and sharpen them in You and Your Word? I know I’m not meant to do life alone. Please help me have deep community in my life.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.