Devotions this week based on Sunday’s Message: Compass: Direction begins with Connection! (LISTEN HERE)
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
I have heard this passage for many years, but something jumped out in studying it this week. Sharpening takes friction and creates sparks.
Have you ever sharpened a knife? Perhaps the fine honing doesn’t create sparkes, but the moment you touch a piece of metal to a grinding wheel, sparks fly. Sharpening happens when friction removes material from the iron that is causing the implement to be dull. Only when friction and sparks fly, does the extra material disappear and the knife becomes sharp.
Have you ever thought about this in relationships?
Perhaps we run too quickly from conflict and friction in relationships instead of leaning into it and seeing what GOd is doing in our heart and life through another person. In fact, some of the molding of our hearts perhaps can ONLY be done when there are sparks and friction with another person.
What do I mean?
One key reason why people are challenged to connect to a church and the people in the church is that there can be a spirit of judgment. While God clearly gives us direction for life, often times it is easy to see and point out someone else’s moral failures and make sure they are aware of their imperfection. We can see this as noble and adhering to to the standards of the Word of God.
While I won’t disagree to some degree, the opportunity for growth may be more with my heart than theirs.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.
When we portray or show a spirit of judgment, it can be a turn off to one seeking to understand and grow with the Lord. As Paul said, it can put a stumbling block or obstacle in their way.
But here’s where sparks fly in our own heart. A spirit of judgment comes from a heart of pride. Pride builds us up in our own minds to be better than others, more faithful than others, have it all together more than others.
So when we interact with someone who is struggling morally or spiritually, it forces us to confront our own heart of pride and have God’s Spirit remove the sinful pride and sharpen our hearts to one of compassion and acceptance. The Apostle Paul teaches:
Romans 15:1-2,7 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. … 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
We wouldn’t have this “sharpening” opportunity unless we had this connection with people. It’s not easy, but it is a blessing we often overlook when we connect with people. It’s much easier to dismiss the person and continue in our own pride. However, God reminds us that for iron to be sharpened, friction and sparks often fly…in our own hearts!
Apply: What relationships recently have had friction and sparks? What might God be honing in your heart through them?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the connections that create friction as through friction your Spirit is honing and sharpening our heart. AMEN.