What Does It Mean To “Sharpen Friends”?

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”  God sharpens me many ways, and much of it, using people. God sharpens me through the preaching of His Word at church and elsewhere. The Holy Spirit speaks to my heart and sharpens me in prayer. Renee and I sharpen each other in conversation and prayer. And then my friends in the Lord sharpen me as we all minister to each other!

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. The word friends doesn’t just mean buddies that you hang with. It can mean family or friends you have reoccurring relationships with, co-workers or acquaintances you see from time to time, or people you get together with such as in a Bible study or activity group of some kind.

Many of these people are “a voice” impacting your life in some way. God calls us to have friends so we can be sharpened. Along with establishing those 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 and you don’t know what’s really going on in their life. That’s because they are afraid to become a victim of gossip. But when they have someone that cares and is used of to to influence their heart, 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 then you say, It’s bound to get better at some point. That in all likelihood will not change their countenance or one shred of their life. It’s when you bring the promise and anointing of God to their situation, that a spark of fresh hope and smile in their heart happens! You don’t have that ability to make that happen in yourself, but when you let God lead you and you bring His Word, promise and prayer to the scene, God moves! You say something like, Hey, God’s Word says in Psalm 46:1 (NKJV) “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” He wants to help you, increase your faith, and bring you peace! Let me pray for you right now!  When that happens, that is sharpening the countenance of a friend!

I have daily opportunities to sharpen the countenance of people, (I pray this is one of them,) 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! That won’t just put a smile on their face. It will put a smile on their heart!

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! When you purpose to do this often, you’ll find that same kind of refreshing and sharpening happening to you! So, 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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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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