Iron sharpens Iron
Have you ever seen the work of a blacksmith?
When I drove school us, every year the elementary would go Pioneer Days. There artisans would replicate skills of days gone by.
I always enjoyed it. But it was the blacksmith that really intrigued me. He would take a piece of iron lay in into the firepit until it glowed red from the heat. Then using heavy gloves and tongs, he would lift it from the fire, take it to the anvil, pound on it for awhile then lay it back into the fire. He repeated this process over and over until finally the object resembled what he intended. Then he would plunge it into cold water to "set" the iron.
Now if he was crafting a knife blade or sword he would sharpen the blade using a grinding stone. He would peddle the contraption which would turn the grinding wheel then hold the iron blade against the stone, turning and angling until the blade was sharp enough to shave the hair from his arm.
It was quite a process. The blacksmith is always very muscular. He worked long and hard and was always very dirty. It was noisy, hot, and always there were sparks flying.
This verse reminds me of the blacksmith.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17 NIV)
It is not always pleasant to have good Christian friends. Sometimes they will have to be the iron that sharpens you.
If I get off the pathway in my walk with The Lord, I am counting on those walking with me to get me back on track.
There are distractions along the way, maybe butterflies, flowers, or maybe another path that looks wider, flatter and easier. Maybe I will get tripped up or have to cross streams. Maybe there will be heavy storms. But I must stay on the path that God has made. It is not straight or wide.
I will need help to stay there, and that help comes from my friends, my blacksmiths. I might need you to be heated with me. I might need hammered into shape. I might need you to leave me cool for awhile. I might need you to grind at me until there are sparks.
It will be painful. I might not like it. I may hate it. But when it's done. I will be better for it.
It won't be easy for you either. It will get hot. You will have to get down and dirty.
But in the end, I will be what I am intended to be and you will have grown stronger too.
Are you up for it.
Please keep me sharp. Don't shrink back from the task. My soul may depend on it.