Bowie Apostolic Church
Proverbs Day 2
Posted on January 5th, 2013

Mutual Edification

Prov 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.
Usually when a craftsman or tool enthusiast wants to sharpen something, they must find a material that is tougher than the material they are trying to sharpen. For instance, as a teenager I used to cut wood for my family's wood stove. If the steel axehead became dull, it would not make sense to me to use another axehead to sharpen it. The axe would actually become more dull.

Apparently iron does not need to have a material that is harder than itself. When iron is rubbed against another piece of iron, the result is not dullness. The take away from this proverb is: in this case, the same type of substance is used to benefit itself.

Similarly, we as people can be sharpened by other people. Even though we are the same "substance" (humanity) and are no better than one another, we can definitely make one another better. We can also better ourselves.

Through our observations, constructive criticisms and ideas our lives can be enriched and enlightened. We can also learn from other people's mistakes. Just as it is in many cases with scripture, this principle can be applied to several contexts in your life.

In the area of faith, especially, we should be building up one another's faith and our own faith. Jude 1:20 says we should build up our most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit. In order to build up someone else, we should be diligent in building ourselves up in prayer. 

It is funny that in the case of iron, there isn't much else (if anything) tough enough to sharpen iron. I would suppose that there are actually more things that can dull iron and break iron than can sharpen iron. Iron can also be used to damage iron. The same way it is for the believer, there are a select set of things that can build up our faith. However, there are many more things that can tear down our faith and attitude toward God.

Building up a project takes design, forethought, planning and careful execution. After all this care is taken, a wrecking ball, earthquake or tornado can do irreparable damage in a matter of minutes. The bottom line is, it is easier to tear down a construction project than it is to build up that same project. 

The word edify is a word derived from construction. The root is used in words like: edify (to build), edifice (a building) and edification (the process of construction). The bible tells us in Romans that edification should be in the forefront of our minds when it comes to our brother and sister in Christ.

Romans 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

Romans 15:2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

There is nothing like kind supportive words and random acts of kindness to change the culture of any group of people. Many times we are so busy, we can make the assumption that people know we are thinking about them. With a little effort we can start a cycle of good words that go back and forth between one another. In this way, not only will members and visitors leave our gatherings inspired by the presence of God and His word, but they will be inspired and edified by the people sitting right next to them.

Be sure to say something encouraging to someone this Sunday.

Posted in Bible 2013, Proverbs    Tagged with iron, sharpens, edification, edify, construction


Yolanda n - January 7th, 2013 at 7:42 AM
I will most certainly incorporate this into my everyday life.
Sis. Mae - July 2nd, 2013 at 10:22 PM
I was sharpened by saints who I barely knew that greeted me with the warmth, affection, and familiarity that you would show a long-lost friend; as I walked into church with the joy of the Lord beaming through my face and my soul tattered, torn, and forlorned. I was lifted and inspired to freely give what I had freely received. In my attempt to emulate these Godly models and apply the training from the church where I was born again (Greet Everybody.); I found myself drawing back from certain people 'cause: "They don't know me like that" etc. But I am sharpened and growing from greeting others based on how I feel about them or how I think they feel about me to greeting my "fellow-heirs of God" with THE COMPASSION OF CHRIST.

COMPLETE: Proverbs 2:__; Discretion shall preserve thee,...
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