Iron sharpening… yeah, the rest you probably know, but in your own life are you iron? Or are you more like brick? Or aluminum? They can both cut when sharp, but their resiliency is minimal when compared to that of the iron we are supposed to represent. They are easily shattered, or molded into other forms with little effort. Unfortunately, it would appear that many “Christians” are composed of that other stuff instead.
What’s the litmus test then? How do we know which material is part of our make-up?
I think the answer can be found on how readily we bend to the traditions of the world, how easily we are shaped into worldly ideas and mores. Do we back pedal when confronted with the hard truths of Scripture? Do we find ourselves wondering what we really believe? Do we falter when these questions are asked of us?
Iron knows its purpose. Iron is only refined and shaped by fire. It is not easily bent. It is not readily damaged by striking. There must be extreme circumstances to alter its presentation.
So, I ask again, of what are you composed?
It is truly disheartening to sit in church and listen to the ear tickling, milk consistency, of many modern-day preachers. Everyone seems to go for the purpose of an uplifting message. Or they want the joy of some natural world acceptance and transformation. Churches are no longer bothered by their open arms theology that radically deviates from Scriptural morals and standards.
I am not, in any way, suggesting that we are to do anything less than love our neighbors. I understand that people are transformed, radically and eternally, by the love of Christ. I am a prime example. However, I also know that Christ’s love was straight forward. Yes, he supped with sinners, but He did not enable them to remain in their sin if they desired to follow Him. He pointed it out to them, or His holy presence made them intensely aware, and they made their choices, change or leave.
Churches that don’t ask their members to grow into the likeness of Christ are doing them a serious disservice. They are providing some aluminum shaping and brick sharpening that will serve these people little use. In fact, these sharpening techniques often create dangerous human beings. They are willing to cut one another on minute issues without delving deep enough to alter spirit and soul. They do not sever bone and marrow but skin and flesh.
If you are not involved in a Bible study, that actually studies the Bible, you are missing out on tremendous growth possibilities. In fact, I was asked recently, when I admitted that I led a Bible study, “What book are you studying?” My reply was, “Luke.” The disappointed answer was, “Oh,” and then the revelation that this individual had recently purchased some well-known author’s topical study. To which she was happy to elaborate. I wonder, could she quote the Scriptures as well?
While I am not opposed to writers employing their craft and helping break down intricate parts of the Bible, I have to tell you that without actually studying the Word on your own, the truth that sinks into your mind will only be that author’s truth. I don’t know about you, but I want the Eternal Author’s Truth residing within me. I want to be iron and I desire to aid in the sharpening of those believers around me.