by Pastor Tim Burt
One day my son Peter and I were golfing. He wanted to play at a course that I was not fond of. I had never played well there but he loved the course and so I said yes. The first three holes were great for him and not great for me. In my discouragement I muttered under my breath, I hate this course!
Evidently, I said it louder than I thought because Pete responded back to me… Okay Dad, I am going to now remind you what you’ve taught me many times. Your words matter! 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 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!)
It’s a great day when your kids or your friends preach back to you what you’ve taught them. And it is also the principle of Iron Sharpening Iron.
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 friends in Christ you have reoccurring relationships with such as in the workplace or a church small group, etc.
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 of 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! That is sharpening a friend!
I have daily opportunities to sharpen the countenance of a friend and so do you! I just texted an aging mentor from my past last week. I was thinking about him and wanted him to know the impact that he had on my life. It was fairly early in the morning so I didn’t really expect a response, at least not for a while if at all. He responded back to me in less than five minutes thanking and appreciating my words and then sharing kind words of my influence upon his life. I think we made each other’s day.
It’s now become a part of who I am to bring sincere encouragement to others when the opportunity arises or as I sense God’s leading to do so. I always try to bring a promise from God’s word in that encouragement. Almost without exception, I’m told that they’ve been blessed, lifted up, and encouraged. This is the releasing of the power of God through you sharpening the countenance of your friend!
No matter who we speak to, we have the privilege and honor to sharpen others with the love, hope, and promise of God’s love and care for them. Nothing opens the heart more to the things of God. So what are you waiting for? Who can you sharpen 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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