The phrase “iron sharpens iron” as found in Proverbs 27:17, perplexed me for years as to its real meaning. The analogy of human kind as ‘iron’ never dawned on me. But as I explored the word and consulted the experienced teachings of others, it became evident that a man’s character is sharpened and strengthened, he becomes a reflection of the true light and is most effective for service to God and others the more s/he fellowships, interacts, commune and pray with individuals who bears a similar likeness or even greater strength of character.
“Just as iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend.” ~ Proverbs 27:17 CJB
What other nuggets of wisdom can we gain from this analogy? Mutual benefit is gained when two iron blades are rubbed together. They are capable of igniting sparks. The more they are rubbed together, the sharper the edges become and the more efficient they are in their task to cut, dice, and slice. Same way the word of God is a ‘double-edged sword.’ It is the ‘iron’ that sharpens our mind, quickens us so that we are not discouraged, and that which we must sharpen others with to help build their character.
3 Lessons In ‘Iron Sharpens Iron’
1.) Two people have a good reward when they toil together. Whether in spousal relationships, in the home with children or siblings, in the workplace, or in business partnerships, two are always better than one because if one should fall, the other will lift him/her up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
2.) There is always a guaranteed blessing for the two or more who meet in the Lord’s name. (Matthew 18:20) Such a fellowship is graced with God’s presence. He inclines His ears and He listens intently to what each one has to say. He is pleased and therein lies glory and honor unto Him.
3.) Iron sharpening iron lends itself to the opportunity to fulfill the law of Christ. Examples of such is that we must carry, bear and share one another’s burdens each day, weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice, be remorseful over personal sins and advise each other on how best to repent of it.
An iron [individual] that was never sharpened will still continue to be one of God’s creation, or a Christian as the case may be, but unless sharpened by God’s word or another person of the faith, will become less effective in his/her ability to function in the capacity or the purpose for which they were made.
Let us therefore continue to exhort and encourage one another, to stir each other up towards love and doing good deeds, to spend more time together to fellowship, pray and to sharpen each other with God’s word. SO…