Iron Sharpening Iron


“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” — Proverbs 27:17


I enjoy competition. I love watching individuals and teams compete for the prize of victory and all that comes with it. A sense of accomplishment, overcoming one’s inadequacies to win are just a couple of the by-products of competing and winning.

While I enjoy competition, it can be unhealthy among brothers in Christ. Solomon reminds us that we help each other grow by using the illustration of iron sharpening iron. If you could imagine the process of iron making another piece of iron sharper, it requires heat and hammering to mold the iron into its finished shape for use. Humanly speaking, I see the heat as the passion that we exhibit as we go about living out our call from God. The hammering represents one person helping another person grow and mature as a Christ-follower. This is not competition, but collaboration, co-laboring together to advance the Kingdom of our Lord.

Competition says that someone wins and someone loses. In the body of Christ, we are all winners and should not see each other as competitors as we serve the Lord together. This is unhealthy and gives the enemy access to disrupt our lives and the unity that Jesus prayed for us to have in John 17. We go from being sharpened by each other to conflict and dissension.

Paul reminded us not to think more highly of ourselves than we should and consider others above ourselves (see Romans 12:3). When we remain humble and consider the interests and thoughts of others before we consider our own, we are truly in an iron sharpening iron relationship. In this, God is glorified, and His Kingdom is advanced.

  • Are you sharpening your teammates in Christ?  
  • How can you be a better brother or sister in Christ?

Exodus 17:10–14; Ecclesiastes 4:9; 1 Samuel 18:1; Mark 6:7; John 17:20–21


"Father, help me to see my brothers and sisters in Christ as teammates and not competitors. May we work together to grow Your Kingdom. Amen."