This devotional series examines a verse or two from a chapter of Proverbs each day of January 2017.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. ~Proverbs 27:17
In Proverbs 27, Solomon has a lot to say about the need for friendship. These aren’t mere surface level, go grab a bite and a movie, acquaintances with whom you share some common interests. No, these are friendships that run deep to the core.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. ~Proverbs 27:6
We need friends not yes-men and yes-women. We need people who are willing to speak truth lovingly into our lives, people who are able to help us see our flaws. Such friends love us anyway, despite our flaws, but this love desires to help us be better people, more focused on Jesus. So they will speak honestly to us and rebuke us when we need it, even if they know their words will not sit well in the moment.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. ~Proverbs 27:9
This is basically the positive side of 27:6. Not only will friends rebuke us when necessary, but they’ll offer sage advice when we need it. The best of friends have our best interests at heart, meaning they have our Christ-likeness at heart. So, they will help guide us on the way as we seek to help guide them on the way.
Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend… ~Proverbs 27:10
Relationships take cultivation. Deep friendships are no different. If you want friends who will be with you through the ups and the downs, through the joys and the days of trouble, then it will take effort today.
As iron sharpens iron…
The proverb to open this post reminds us again of the truth of accountability. The way we become sharper—more spiritually mature, more able to navigate life, and more useful to the disciplemaking call of Jesus—is through friends who will hold us accountable, help us grow, and help us become sharper. This means that sparks will fly, but since “faithful are the wounds of a friend”, this is a good thing.
Great friends are priceless. So, deepen those relationships and work on developing friendships that will sharpen you.