“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”Proverbs 27:17
While Julia is wonderful, she’s my best friend. So when I say, “this one,” I don’t mean her specifically. I mean this type of friend that Julia has been for me.
Julia and I became friends in high school. God knew I needed her because, I think, without her I wouldn’t have been able to stay on track spiritually in that time of my life. It’s the time when everything around you screams, “Be like everyone else. Blend in. Be normal.” But God was whispering in His still small voice, “Be like me. Stand out. Be extraordinary.” And sometimes I think I would have missed that message if I hadn’t had Julia to echo God’s words to me on more than one occasion. Actually, on more than a hundred occasions.
But remarkable friends like Julia don’t come by the bushel. In fact, the gem of a godly friend is rare. In exchange for the valuable friendship I had with one, I gave up the popularity of friendship with many. Not because I didn’t like the people around me but because I had to make a decision about what direction my life was going to take. The Bible says in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Here is what this verse doesn’t say, “As iron sharpens iron, so a godly friend sharpens another.” Meaning any person has the ability to sharpen you.
So whether your close friends are godly or not- you are being sharpened either way. The question is what do you want to be sharpened for? Do you want to be sharpened in the Word of God, or in the way of the world?
This doesn’t just apply for grade school friends when you’re young. This is important in our everyday lives. Whoever or whatever we are getting the most influence from is who and what we will become like. That goes not only for people but also the music we submit our minds to, the television we allow our attention to, and the opinions we give the most value to- all these things sharpen us. Make sure you are being sculpted into something you want to look at.
This concept does not mean shut yourself to the majority of people and only have one friend. That would be counter-productive. But it does mean be alert to who you are allowing access to your growth. And if you identify some that are sharpening you into a weapon rather than a blessing, take a step back.
A godly friend will always pull you toward the will of God. A dangerous one will distract you from it. You choose- which friend will sharpen you?