Daily Devotional: Day 198
“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17, NKJV).
You don’t get to choose your parents, siblings or relatives. But you get to choose who will be your friend. Some don’t think about this, but whenever you make a choice, you are revealing who you are, what you stand for, and what matters to you. Therefore, when you choose a friend, you are – consciously or unconsciously – revealing yourself. The company you keep is a reflection of you. Jesus told us to love everyone, including even our enemies. But, notice that He never said we should make friends with all people. Jesus Himself did not make friends with everyone in Israel.
The point is, you don’t have to be a friend to love or care for someone. Friendship is based, not only on love, but also on shared interest, mutual respect and mutual trust. Consequently, everyone qualifies to be loved, but not everyone qualifies to be your friend. Likewise, you don’t qualify to be everyone’s friend. Today’s Scripture passage from the Book of Proverbs speaks to us about an important aspect of friendship.
The Holy Spirit says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance [i.e. the face] of his friend.” If you need to sharpen iron, you can’t use wood, plastic or straw. It takes iron to sharpen iron. The Bible uses this analogy to describe the relationship between friends. Great friends sharpen the countenance of their friends. This means they are a source of honor and pride to their friends. Great people sharpen their friends and make them better. This means you are as sharp as the company you keep.
Like it or not, some friends do not contribute anything of value to your life. If you hang around with them long enough, not only will you become stagnant, but you will decline in intelligence, wisdom, integrity and excellence. Your life is precious; so is your time. It is important, therefore, how you spend your time, and with whom you spend it. If you can’t find quality relationships around, you might consider spending time with yourself – and God. At times, solitude is better than company. Some people prefer a shallow life. They are often fascinated by trivialities: the latest gossip in town, what others are up to, what is trending, etc.
But as a child of God, your time here on earth is precious and short. The Father is counting on you to invest in quality relationships and productive ventures that will promote your growth and advance the cause of the Gospel. Therefore, He needs you to stay sharp. Spend as little time as possible with superficial friends. It would be better if, in fact, they weren’t your friends in the first place. It is better to have one friend who helps you stay sharp and productive than ten friends who help you waste your potential. Develop yourself so that you can sharpen your friends. And, hang out with people who will sharpen you when you need sharpening.
May the face of our heavenly Father shine upon you. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
For further study: 1 Samuel 20:1-42