woman in office
(http://www.stockfreeimages.com)

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." - Proverbs 27:17, NLT

King Solomon's writings are filled with illustrations meant to enlighten us about the power of meaningful relationships. He believed good friends could sharpen one another—that "metal to metal" relationships would result in an improved life (see Prov. 27:17).

He also believed that poor relationships would wound us. Ultimately, he claimed, we are the product of our friendships, whether good or bad. 

The king clearly understood that human beings were never made to "go it alone." He taught us that God often uses the influences of others to shape and prepare our destinies. We can never be all God intended for us to be without significant people in our lives.  

Solomon also taught that true friends correct one another. "Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy" (27:6). Pity the person who has no healthy "wounding" from a friend! 

Solomon's words tell us that a quality friend will offer valuable counsel: "The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense" (27:9). Literally, this means a real friend will give "fit"—that is, timely and appropriate—advice (see 15:23).

Another characteristic of friendships is that friends offer mutual support and encouragement. We each need someone who will hold us accountable. 

For this reason, we must work hard at developing friendships with those more stalwart than ourselves—colleagues who aren't afraid to "level with us," who are more impressed with character than accomplishment. 

What about behaviors that spoil friendships? Solomon gives us a list that includes gossip, excessive talking (see 16:28; 17:9), the improper handling of money (see 19:4), anger and self-control issues (see 22:24), and odious and obnoxious behavior (see 27:14).

Finally, we need to understand that going to the next level in God will always require us to discover and develop new relationships. However, we should never discard time-honored, meaningful relationships. Benjamin Franklin once said: "Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing."

So who needs friends, right? After all, this is America—the great bastion of independence and self-sufficiency. 

Think again! Maybe it's time once more for you and me to hear the sound of grinding metal in our lives. Iron to iron—friend sharpening friend. Lord, give us good friends! 


John Chasteen is a professor of history at the University of North Carolina.

Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.

Get to know the Holy Spirit and how to interact with Him on a daily basis. Learn to enter God's presence and hear His voice clearly for yourself! Go deeper in your faith with Life in the Spirit and change your life and destiny. Are you ready to start your journey?

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Chuck Pierce is calling the month ahead "critical."

    Chuck Pierce Prophesies 'Short, 10-Year Window' in the Nations

    Russia is a big part of what he sees.

  • Warring angels

    Prophetic Word: 'I Saw Angels at Almost the Speed of Light'

    Here is why you must pray them through for yourself and for your nation.

  • Cindy Jacobs is encouraging intercessors across the country to pray to keep the nation stabilized through December 19th.

    Cindy Jacobs Issues Critical Post-Election Prayer Alert

    Will you keep watching and praying?

  • Get the answer to your challenging circumstance in this insight from James 1:5.

    Early Warning Signs You're About to Make a Terrible Decision

    Is Holy Spirit sounding off these alarms in your life?

  • This revivalist had a vision of hell.

    Revivalist: I Went to Hell in a Dream

    After God took him on a prophetic journey, John Burton left with an important message for the ...

  • Don't let pornography impede God's plan for your life.

    How Watching Pornography Ruins the Destiny God Has for You

    If the devil can seduce you, he can reduce you.

  • Prophetic worshipper

    Prophetic Worshipper Kim Clement Passes Into Glory

    The prophetic worshipper has experienced health issues, including a brain bleed, for more than a ...

  • Victory not defeat

    Satan's Greatest Lie That Leads to Your Greatest Defeat

    Hint: Stop perpetuating this with your own mouth. It's a huge part of the battle.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit