Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sharp (03/07/13)
TITLE: Sharpening a Knife
By Edmond Ng
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- Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17 NAS)
A sharp knife means a better, faster, and easier job for the chef to work neatly and more accurately. Once a knife is sharpened, the knife must first be cleaned to remove any filings that might be on the blade. A good way to test the knifeís sharpness is to cut a soft tomato to see if it slices through easily with little pressure.
Understanding knife sharpening provides many lessons we can take home. The Bible teaches that iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17). Now think for a moment and ask ourselves, are we notable for sharpening others? Do we help others do better? How often do we reach out to encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11)? Do we know that leaving our brothers and sisters in the Lord to struggle on their own is dangerous because without guidance they require more effort and are more likely to slip and fall?
If we hope to do better, faster, and easier in accurately handling the word of truth, we must first keep ourselves constantly sharpened in Godís word (2 Timothy 2:15). The word of God is living, active and sharper than any two-edged sword, able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). We need therefore to be careful when seeking to encourage or correct another to first examine ourselves and remove our own bad habits, wrong attitudes, and presumptions (Luke 6:42).
A good way to test whether an encouragement or correction is helpful is to watch the receptivity of the person and how he or she responds. Remember, however, that just as not all tomatoes taste the same, so the people we seek to help differ largely in personality, sensitivity, experiences, degree of faith, among other things. Always understand them first before reaching out to them. Be sensitive to the Holy Spiritís leading. Do not force a correction, speak without thinking, or let eagerness take center stage.
Dear Lord, help us be sensitive to the leading of Your Holy Spirit, especially when encouraging or correcting a person. Do not let our hearts be hardened to leave our fellow believers to struggle for themselves, but guide us Lord as we help them keep from slipping or falling. Remove from us all that is not pleasing in Your sight O Lord and sharpen us by Your word that we may accurately handle the word of truth.
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