Read: Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Who is your iron man? Do you have anyone in your life sharpening you? In one of the most famous proverbs on friendship, Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” If you are going to reach your potential, excel at what you do and grow into the character of Christ, you’re going to need an iron man in your life.
So how can you get into relationship with those kinds of steely people? Proverbs says that you’ve got to cultivate them:
First, cultivate the kinds of friends that are godly. We need to come alongside mature believers who themselves are growing in the grace of God, and allow them to rub off on us. It’s not simply a matter of having a lot of friendly people in your life, although having friendly people around is a good thing. It’s not just a matter of surrounding yourself with lots of Christians…though that too, is a good thing. But we need to be strategic about the people we invite into our inner circle. Why? I Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.”
Second, cultivate the kinds of friends that are immoveable. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, a brother is born for adversity.” God wants you to have the kind of friends who are going to be with you heart and soul—especially through the rough spots in your life. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” While prosperity may forge a ironclad friendsip, adversity will prove its mettle!
Third, cultivate the kind of friends that are current. Some of us have the tendency to live in the past when it comes to our friends. Proverbs 27:10 says, “Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father, and do not go to your brother’s house when disaster strikes you—better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.” In other words, we’re better off with current, accessible friends, than depending on “a brother far away,” which can refer to either physical or emotional distance. We’re not to rely on yesterday’s relationships, as important and foundational as they may have been; we need to work to keep friendships alive and well.
And fourth, cultivate the kinds of friends that are truthful. If you are going to develop Christ-likeness, it is absolutely imperative that you have someone who is committed to growth in your character through loving honesty. Proverbs 27:5-6 says, “Better an open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
The temptation we all face is to surround ourselves with people who make us feel good. But we’ll never grow past our character flaws and personality weaknesses if we never give permission to a few people to speak into our lives. Proverbs 15:31 says, “He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise.”
Have you given anyone the freedom to rebuke you? Do you have anyone close to you speaking truth into your life? If you are going to get better as a human being, grow in Christ-like character and win at life, you have got to allow an iron man (or woman) into your circle of influence! I hope you have someone like that, or will get someone like that, because there’s not a one of us who should go through life without an iron man friend.
“By friendship, you mean the greatest love, the greatest usefulness, the
most open communication, the noblest suffering, the severest truth,
the heartiest counsel, and the greatest union of minds
of which brave men and women are capable.”
Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:
Perhaps you are the person who needs to be the kind of friend you’ve read about in today’s blog to somebody else. Who is that someone who needs you to speak into their life and call out the best in them?