Men Of Iron

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
Proverbs 27:17

Every day it becomes increasingly more difficult to cultivate friendship. As adults, our lives are bogged down by work, family, and myriad other responsibilities that take up all twenty-four hours every day.

However, friendship is often an area we neglect to take seriously. And the Scriptures warn against this.

The Bible strongly encourages that we develop friendships with other believers. In Proverbs 27:17, Solomon writes, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Chances are that you’ve heard that verse before, but we often neglect to consider its implications.

Solomon is saying here that friendship is a way to build others up by removing the crud. Iron sharpening isn’t easy or pleasant work. It is dirty, hot, and dangerous. That is what friendship is like. When you begin to develop true, honest relationships, everything in the dark gets brought to the light.

If those friendships are genuine and Christ-honoring, they’ll be painfully beneficial.

We see this idea of genuine friendship modeled throughout the entirety of Scripture. From the bond between Jonathan and David to Jesus and his disciples, and even in the foundations of the early church in Acts, these relationships all point to authentic friendship.

We aren’t meant to live our lives in isolation. This way ultimately leads to folly and destruction. That isn’t to say that we rely on the approval of others, or create a friendship for its own sake. But we ought to develop close-knit relationships with other believers, folks who will walk with us shoulder to shoulder, and beat down the gates of hell with us.

When we begin to view friendship in a God-glorifying, Christ-exalting way, then our friendships will truly mean something. Only then will we know what it means for iron to sharpen iron. And we will begin to chase after holiness while helping our brothers and sisters do the same.

Entering into genuine friendships is a declaration of war against our enemy, the devil. To not pursue friendship is folly and only leads to destruction.

Choose the hard road. Choose genuine friendships.

 


More Jesus!

As this new year begins, it appears that this year won’t be any different that the last one, and that’s ok.  Crazy, I know, but I have realized that we don’t need a new President to make everything better.  We don’t need a Democrat or Republican to make all the sorrows of the world go away.  What we need is more Jesus!  Not just as a nation, but personally.  If we have more and more and more Jesus, the rest of the world’s cares and concerns don’t have near as much of an impact.  When you look back at His time here with us, you realize that He didn’t let the cares of this world cause Him stress.  The reason He didn’t let stress get to Him sounds very simple, but it is powerful nonetheless.  He knew who is in control of it all. He used the scriptures to demonstrate and show who controls all things. God is in control and none of what happened back when Jesus was on Earth or what is happening today has caught Him by surprise.  The lyrics to an old song from my younger days keeps ringing through my head: “When you don’t understand, When don’t see his plan, When you can’t trace his hand; Trust His Heart.” 
 
 
How do I get more and more of Jesus & how can I get closer to Him?

I have learned that the closer we get to Jesus, the stronger and happier we become. Sometimes in life we may not have that certain someone to encourage and push you forward, but when we experience radical intimacy with Jesus, every aspect of life seems to just fit in and fall into place. Getting closer to Jesus is an ongoing process that involves any number of steps.  Now, I am not claiming to be an expert on the subject by any means, but here are four simple things that the Lord put on my heart:

  1. Spend quality quiet time with Jesus. Quiet time can involve reading various gospel oriented books or listening to devotionals or even Christian music. Just taking some time off to sit and think about certain verses or passages from the Bible would also amount to quiet time. It’s frankly just isolating ourselves from this noisy world and letting God know that we are waiting on him. So quality quiet time would surely make us feel closer to Jesus.
  2. Attend church regularly. This doesn’t mean just taking up space in a pew hoping that Jesus will seep in through osmosis.  We need to be sure that we try to actively engage ourselves in the worship. When songs are being sung, sing along from the heart, when the Word is being preached, we need to listen intently and open our hearts to the message He has for us. Being engaged in church can have you leaving Spirit-filled and closer to Jesus.
  3. Read the Bible. The Bible is the inspired Word of God himself.  Consider, if you will, the following verses:
    1. John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” KJV
    2. John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
    3. Since we refer to the Bible as the Word of God, and the above verses tell us that “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” & “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” it is my humble opinion that the Bible is a manifestation of Jesus. Keep in mind that I am not a biblical scholar by any stretch.  The way I figure it, the best way to have an intimate knowledge of Jesus and to be as close as humanly possible to Him is to, not just read, but ingest, dwell on, meditate on Jesus, the Word of God.
  4. Talk to Him. The best way that I have found to get to know more about someone is to talk to them.  It is the same way with Jesus.  Jesus is our friend.  No, He is more than just a friend.  We are His family. We should talk to Him like He is in the room with us.  Jesus is always listening and will never leave us or forsake us.  Regular, meaningful conversations with Jesus are the best way to get closer to Him.


My Relationship With God Is Cold

My Relationship With God Is Cold

 

“How did you get close to God again? I’m not sinning, like doing drugs or drinking or swearing, but I get mad easily and don’t feel that connection with God. I just want my relationship with God back.”

If you are a mature believer, questions like this may be familiar. Here is an answer that has worked for me.

Do what the early church did.

42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42 NASB

  • Devote yourself to the apostles teaching — study the Bible regularly
  • Devote yourself to the fellowship — don’t go it alone. We need one another. We need the accountability of the body and we need to share our time and stuff with one another in sacrificial ways.
  • Devote yourself to the breaking of bread — again, we need to worship the King together. We need to remember the sacrifice of the cross together with other believers.
  • Devote yourself to “the prayers” — the text and most modern translations say “prayers” not “prayer”. The plural is important. Most scholars will say that the meaning is not just to “saying your prayers” or praying and talking to God regularly. The plural has a very specific referent. Either it means the 3x a day pattern of Jewish prayer in the first century or, and more likely, it means they devoted themselves to the prayer book of the Old Testament, the book of Psalms.

My own experience is, that when my walk with God has grown cold or lukewarm, doing these things restores my passion and appreciation for the wonders of the gospel and the beauty of my Savior.

Give it time. Doing these things is not a shot of adrenaline. They are exercises for your spirit and will “pay off” over time (just like physical exercise) as you continually make the “devote yourself” investment.

Ask yourself this question, what commands of Christ am I not doing that I know I ought to be doing? Why this question?

Look at John 14:21

21 He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” NASB

Jesus ties further revelation of himself, greater intimacy with himself to our obedience to the commands he has given us.

Look at Galatians 2:20

20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and a]the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” NASB

Live your life by faith not by how you feel.

Train your heart to act on truth revealed not how you feel in the moment.

Finally, check out your love life?

Read Luke 7:38–50, especially verse 47.

47 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” NASB

“He who is forgiven little, loves little.” Whenever I, or any of us, forget how much we have been forgiven our faith will become stale and inconsequential to our lives; but when we go back to the cross, when we spend time meditating on how much we have been forgiven, new springs of joy will begin to arise in our hearts.



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