As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
I have one of those butcher block knife stations on my countertop. You know, the big bulky monstrosity that holds your dull knives until you need to try and cut something. I kept complaining to my husband (the one who bought the thing) that the knives were always dull, and I wanted him to sharpen them. He explained that he had nothing to sharpen them with.
I continued to use the knives, hacking at fruits and vegetables in a vain attempt to slice them for cooking until, one day, I noticed a long bar like device sticking out the back of the block. It wasn’t a knife… it had to be a sharpener!
I clumsily tried, using what little I knew about sharpening knives from TV. As I finished sharpening the first knife and stood ready over a tomato, I was praying my efforts had worked and, sure enough, the knife was sharper and the tomato cut smoothly. I was so proud of myself!
This scripture in Proverbs reminds us that we are accountable to our brothers and sisters in Christ; that we are to be in fellowship together to grow in Christ. This fellowship includes church services, meeting in small groups, gathering as Christian friends, to help each other learn God’s Word, worshiping Him, and understanding our place in His Kingdom.
Being accountable is not always comfortable. Sometimes we are called out on our bad attitude, or worse, we have to call someone else out on their bad attitude. But the goal is the same: to see all of us grow, becoming more like Christ and seeing others won into His Kingdom.
Picture a blacksmith working on an iron tool. He heats it in the furnace and then bangs the tool with an iron mallet on top of an iron anvil. He is forging a useful tool, molding it so he can use it for his future purposes.
You are the iron tool. The Lord is forging and molding you to be useful to His future purposes! The fire is the situation you are going through and the iron mallet is Christian friends bringing the Word to your remembrance, helping you through the fire: the forging process. Other Christian friends are the iron anvil, a steady rock of support for you to land on as the master does His work in your life.
If you get offended at the process, you refuse to be changed. If you walk away from the church and everyone who speaks the truth in your life, then you become dross, worthless metal, no longer useful to anyone. You must allow God to mold you.
Stay on the anvil, listen to good Christian advice, and follow the Word. Then, when your forging is over, God can use you!
~ Denise Ouellette