Last Thursday I was privileged to have a phenomenal Jesus-conversation with one of the Jonas brothers. After nearly two hours of speaking of the movement, provision, grandeur and greatness of our God, I hung up and was quickly reminded of a passage in Proverbs:
As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend
There are several men who continually bring a sharpening to my life. Some I have known for years like Ben, Nick, and Dan; others for but a few months, like my friend James Jonas (who, as I’m sure you’ve been questioning, is not related to the band with the same last name).
There have only been a handful of times when I met someone that I instantly felt knit in soul to and knew they would become a lifelong friend. Ben, Dan and Nick are such men. But so are James, Steve, Eric and a small handful of others. Each of these men continually sharpen me. Almost an unwritten rule between us states: we refuse to allow one another to live a life of anything but the epic-heroic Godly life found in Scripture. We will stand, fight, encourage, and get in each other’s faces as we cheer one another down the Narrow Way of the Cross and the endless frontier of Jesus.
“Sharpening” in the Hebrew means to make sharp, alert, or keen [sharp, eagerness, enthusiasm]. The idea of “iron sharpening iron” as one Bible handbook explained, is like “the common human experience that a knife or other iron tool can be sharpened by using a file or some other iron tool.” I remember as a kid watching my mom take a steel knife and run it along a steal dowel to sharpen it. But interestingly, in this case, when iron sharpens iron, both must change. You can’t affect one without the other changing as well.
What a great picture of Biblical brotherhood. There is something to be said of having another man of God come alongside and press you deeper in Jesus; to refuse to allow your life to have any shadow, excuse, or weariness in battle. They keep you sharp, alert, and keen – battle ready – for the war. But in doing so, they are being sharpened as well. They become strengthened, refined, alert, and enthusiastic as they sharpen others.
There is a tremendous encouragement, fervor, zeal and strength that arises when you have other men standing, running, and fighting alongside you. I am incredibly thankful for men who continually prod, question, rebuke, encourage, strengthen, uplift, and bring clarity, focus, alertness, depth, and laughter to my life. They know who they are. This is a tribute to them.