Iron to Iron | Culture War

“In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend.” ~ Proverbs 27:17 (VOICE)

Iron to Iron | Culture WarIn a day and age where absolute truth is becoming an outdated idea, the notion that one could have a friend who would speak to their character seems a bit outdated. After all, if my perception is my reality –you cannot argue with my experience, and everything in life is subject to my perception. In this case how could a friend pronounce a judgment on my perception of what is happening. If I were mildly religious, I would even recite: “Jesus, came to save the world, not judge it.”

You good? Yea. I’m good. GOOD.

If I am honest, there was a time in my life when I really did not want people to get too close. It frightened me to think someone would get to know what I kept hidden in the closet of my mind. As I have sought healing and freedom in my relationship with Christ I realized I need people close to me who know the really messy, hard details of my life. I need to give them permission to speak into my circumstances and hold me accountable to the values I profess.

I have several people like this in my life today. And, thanks be to God, I have given up the desire to keep the monsters of my flesh nature hidden away pretending they do not exist. I choose to be an open book and share openly both my struggles and my values.

Which brings me to the iron to iron part of this post. In Biblical times, forming an iron sword or weapon required the blacksmith to strike the heat softened iron with an iron mallet. He pounds out the metal into a flat sheet. The iron would then be sharpened by an iron file or a stone of iron ore to create a very sharp edge. When the blade was put to use, it would grow dull and so the iron needed to be treated with iron to its edges in order to raise the edge and sharpen it again. The sharpening process would be applied over and over again to keep the weapon fit for use. It also would mean they would need to take care not to allow their weapons to be exposed to elements that could produce rust and weaken the iron.

Accountability in the context of relationship works like iron in the sharpening process of a sword. This kind of accountability doesn’t happen with just any friend in your life. So what qualifies someone to be as “iron” in your life.

proverbs 27 17

  1. Strength of Character. Iron became desirable in weapon making because its durability and strength proved valuable to the warrior. In our friendships one of the things we have to be willing to do is submit ourselves to people of integrity and allow them the opportunity to see into our way of living to reveal what tends to make us dull in our hearts and our minds.
  2. Authenticity& Access. In order for accountability to be effective we have to be transparent and authentic with our friends, and give them permission to speak into the areas of our lives that give them pause.
  3. They Know Your Weaknesses. Like rust on iron, our natural tendencies and flesh nature will create opportunities for temptation, hiding and denial. Being transparent about weakness and giving others permission to call us on the painful realities in our lives will keep us from becoming ineffective in our Christian witness and our walk.
  4. They must Value Who You Are. Do not invite people to hold you accountable who cannot be trusted with confidential information, tend to be negative and do not have an interest in helping you be everything you were created and redeemed to be. These would be people who speak to the greatness inside you and see the value in helping you avoid things that will deny that greatness at any level.

Paul had iron to iron relationships with the people he brought up in the faith. Consider Timothy and Philemon. Finding someone who will speak into your life as Paul did in his epistles. The early church Christians were subject to a vicious culture war caught between the rigidity of Jewish Tradition and the poly-theist philosophers known as Gentiles. In a day when our culture is at war with our values, we must find others who will stand arm to arm, and at times eye to eye, that we may emerge from the fire stronger, purer and sharper than we were before.

Friends who are willing to ask you hard questions and require straight answers will not be easy to find. But, as the Scriptures assure us, “there are friends who stick closer than a brother,” and “words aptly spoken are like apples of gold in settings of silver.” (Proverbs 18:24; 25:11) The value to you and your destiny will be immeasurable.

Press ON!

Michelle sig

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About Michelle Bentham

Michelle is a wife and mother who has experienced the healing power of God in so many ways. Most significantly in her own grief after the death of her son in 2005. As a gifted artist, radio show host and communicator Michelle remains passionate about helping others, especially women of all ages, connect with God’s heart through creative expression.

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