As Iron Sharpens Iron
Every day it becomes increasingly more difficult to cultivate friendship. As adults, our lives are bogged down by work, family, and myriad other responsibilities that take up all twenty-four hours every day.
However, friendship is often an area we neglect to take seriously. And the Scriptures warn against this.
The Bible strongly encourages that we develop friendships with other believers. In Proverbs 27:17, Solomon writes, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Chances are that you’ve heard that verse before—you may even have it on a men’s ministry T-shirt or coffee mug—but we often neglect to consider its implications.
Solomon is saying here that friendship is a way to build others up by removing the crud. Iron sharpening isn’t easy or pleasant work. It is dirty, hot, and dangerous. That is what friendship is like. When you begin to develop true, honest relationships, everything in the dark gets brought to the light.
And if those friendships are genuine and Christ-honoring, they’ll be painfully beneficial.
We see this idea of genuine friendship modeled throughout the entirety of Scripture. From the bond between Jonathan and David to Jesus and his disciples, and even in the foundations of the early church in Acts, these relationships all point to authentic friendship.
We aren’t meant to live our lives in isolation. This way ultimately leads to folly and destruction. That isn’t to say that we rely on the approval of others, or create a friendship for its own sake. But we ought to develop close-knit relationships with other believers, folks who will walk with us shoulder to shoulder, and beat down the gates of hell with us.
When we begin to view friendship in a God-glorifying, Christ-exalting way, then our friendships will truly mean something. Only then will we know what it means for iron to sharpen iron. And we will begin to chase after holiness while helping our brothers and sisters do the same.
Entering into genuine friendships is a declaration of war against our enemy, the devil. To not pursue friendship is folly and only leads to destruction.
Choose the hard road. Choose genuine friendships.
Drew is a youth group leader at Mosaic of Winchester in Winchester, Virginia. He is a blogger and podcaster at Courageous Theology and has a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry from Liberty University. Drew is married to Cherry, and they have two daughters. You can follow him on Instagram @CourageousTheology.