“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
These words have been heard and spoken of for years. They have littered sermons and pep talks for generations. These words have broken through the concrete hearts that mankind carries in our chest after years of hardening our hearts. These words have been used to encourage men to open their hearts to friends and loved ones throughout the years.
Recently I have thought of what these words mean in relation to our personal growth as human beings. As I pondered through this passage and how it relations to our personal growth, I was left with one question:
Why is it so important that we sharpen ourselves and how does community effect that growth?
As I thought through the passage and I read through the entire chapter of proverbs 27, it became clear to me that community is essential for our growth as a Christian as well as our development as human beings. Yes, we’ve heard this before. I understand that if you’ve been a man or woman of faith for any period of time, you have heard of the importance of community, but I have recently deepened my understanding of why it’s important.
Let me begin with an illustration. On this last Saturday I decided to go for an early evening walk. As I approached a nearby park, I was greeted by a multitude of cars parked on the side of the street. Nearing closer to the park, I noticed a family occupying the park; children were joyfully swinging and chasing each other while parents were decorating a nearby table, bench and awning. This image truly made me smile while my mind filled with love and remembrance for that type of interaction.
As I thought of the gleeful memories that were being created in that fantastic moment in time, I began to think of the importance of family bonding experiences and how these experiences create a solid and loving family structure for all parties involved.
The further I joined down this rabbit hole of jolly thought, the more I thought of why this encounter is so important to our everyday lives. I began to peel back the layers of the Proverbs 27 verse.
What does it mean to be sharpened?
As we live our everyday lives we slowly give away parts of our time, life, and energy away; which leaves us exhausted and in need of rest and recovery. First off, there is nothing wrong with this revelation, but we need to understand that this reaction is happening.
While we pour our heart, energy and love into our friends, family and loved ones, we are often left emotionally dull and used up. When we are left using our physical bodies to perform strenuous tasks, our bodies are usually left broken pattered and fatigued.
In order to keep delivering ‘Good News’ with our heart, mind and actions we need to be at the peak of our endurance; which means that we need to ensure that we are sharpened up and ready for the lord to use us to make this world beautiful again.
When we need to sharpen our skills and talents, often it helps to fill quality time with loved ones, usually doing something that relaxed the mind and bonds the hearts of those involved. In many cases, the Christian body also needs to be filled with encouragement and faith, especially when we face difficult times.
As a personal example I must share this with you. Over the past few months I have been going through one the most difficult times in my life. I recently lost a dear friend of who I loved more than I can truly explain. When this individual chose not to reciprocate the love that I felt, it broke my heart; leaving me in the darkness of my mind. I needed help. I soon decided that I would allow myself to be vulnerable in the most vulnerable time in my life.
Why is sharpening one another so valuable to our growth?
While I sat in the pit of my misery, I had a handful of loved ones that began to sharpen my faith by comforting me. These friends of mine were the epitome of Proverbs 27. They reminded me of God’s love for me as well as God’s plan. They loved me with full patience as I healed from the distance.
I needed my friends and family to sharpen my faith in myself and even more important, my faith in God. I believe the same truth resonates with anybody reading this. We as human beings are created to be in community with other humans. In times of difficulty and challenges, it is very powerful when we partner with those who will fight by our side with prayer and truth.
When we need our family and friends and they stand by our side, they are doing their part in keeping us strong. They are doing their part in sharpening us and keeping us from becoming dull in our purpose with God.
Building community is very important to our lives because it allows us to become better followers or Christ and better people, which in return allows us to strengthen others in our circle of community. We were created to learn from each other in all aspects of life. If we try to live our lives ultimately segregated from our circle of community, we are doing a disservice to ourselves as well as the community around us. We sharpen ourselves when we encourage and challenge each other to be better.
What’s the point?
In conclusion, building a solid community is essential to our walk with God. This community guides us to the light of Christ in our darkness hours. A solid community can also give you the opportunity to encourage others to live a life that shows integrity and honor. In many cases, our community can also give us the opportunity to look at our lives in retrospect as we discuss our trials and tribulations with a dear friend.
I’ve been through a lot in this last year and I’ve needed family, friends and the gracious hands of God to keep me on my feet and moving forward. I must give a huge thank you to every single person who prayed for me or talked me through a situation or even gave me advice. I am truly thankful for your presence in my life. Thank you for loving me and showing me my true value when I didn’t see it in myself.
Anthony K. Giesick
Actions are taken everyday that help make this world better and I just want to share them with you.