by Pastor Tim Burt
One weekend my son Peter called me. He wanted to go golfing. He wanted to play at a golf course that would be close to the last choice on my list. I dislike the course because when I was a young and a very poor golfer, this tough course of many trees, sand traps, and ponds, made a fool out of me. I probably hadn’t played there in 15 years and wasn’t excited about giving it another chance. Peter used his persuasive efforts and I caved in and said Yes. We golfed with two of his other friends.
I have improved in my golf game over the years, but confess that I had some very negative expectations concerning this course. (That is a poor testimony for a supposed man of faith. Sorry about that!) The first hole went poorly. I continued to play shaky for the next two holes. His friends must have wondered if I really did know how to golf. As I got in the golf cart after the third hole, I shook my head, looked at Peter and said, I hate this course. He looked back at me and laughed.
Okay Dad, said Pete, I am going to now teach you what you teach me all the time. What you say is important! Now repeat after me. I love this course. It made me laugh. He was relentless until I spoke the words. I forced out them out. I love this course. He said, Come on Dad, say it again with passion behind it. I stepped it up and said louder, I really love this course. We both laughed. Now, he said, I want you to keep saying it. This is what you’ve taught me all my life. It’s fair that I get to coach you to speak right. I laughed again and said, You are absolutely right and I appreciate it! (Funny thing was, my game improved. Imagine that!)
Proverbs 27:17 NKJV says, “As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” My adult son was now also becoming the friend who was sharpening me!
We all get the part of “iron sharpens iron.” The wisdom of this verse continues saying, “So a man sharpens the countenance of a friend.” If you meditate on these words, you begin to see that God has called you to have friends. This doesn’t just mean buddies that you hang with. It can mean family or people who you have reoccurring relationships such as in the workplace or a Bible study.
Then along with that friendship comes a calling. “As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” The calling is to sharpen the countenance of that friend. In the Hebrew, the definition for countenance implies, the emotional reflection of the heart, on the face. I realize that many people put on a game face most of the time. But when they get to talking with a friend and get real, it doesn’t take too long before the countenance of the heart begins to show through.
Again, God gives us a calling in friendship, and that is “to sharpen the countenance of a friend.” What that really means is to bring hope―godly hope to their situation. It’s not when they say, The economy is really bad and my business is tanking and you say, It’s bound to get better at some point. That in all likelihood will not change their countenance. It’s when you bring the promise and anointing of God to their situation that changes their life. Hey, God’s Word says in Psalm 46:1 (NKJV) “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” Let me pray for you right now!
I have daily opportunities to sharpen the countenance of a friend and so do you! I do this often and as I bring sincere encouragement and prayer from God’s word, I see their countenance change from desperation and hopelessness, to hope and faith! This is releasing the power of God through you and sharpening the countenance of your friend!
When you speak to your spouse or friend, are you communicating destructive words, meaningless or worthless words, or are you imparting words of faith and promise and words of power and anointing from God’s Word? It’s what you are called to do! Sharpen a friend today!
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT) “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. “
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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