This past weekend I actually had a few moments to plop myself down and tune into the Food Network while the hubby and boys did some yard work outside. I used to watch the Food Network all the time because I really love cooking and enjoy making new meals for my family!
But these days life is so busy balancing schedules from working my ministry job to doing housework…from helping my boys with school projects to getting them to football practices…from barely having an uninterrupted adult conversation with my husband (not easy with 2 young boys needing our attention) to getting a much-needed Date Night!
And…therefore…I look for quick, easy, and healthy meals to cook in the busyness of life.
The other night I began cooking a family favorite…Quinoa Jumbalaya… (FYI…Not as hard as you think and so yummy!)
The recipe required a chopped tomato. As I began cutting the tomato, I realized how much effort I was using. I was using my favorite knife but it didn’t seem to be cutting as clean and smooth as usual. I was actually concerned that the blade would slip and cut my finger.
My favorite knife had become dull so I grabbed my iron knife sharpener and scraped the blade across it a few times. I tried chopping the tomato again and…Wow! What a difference!
I wasn’t using as much effort this time and I chopped away more quickly! Plus, I felt so much more secure about not slipping and cutting myself!
I know some of you may not really care much about cooking…but stick with me here!
Most cooks know that a dull knife can be more dangerous than a sharp one. Although it seems contradictory…a dull-edged blade can actually do more damage to the cook… than the food! That’s because when a blade is dull…it’s harder to use like I just experienced.
Not only does it take more force to actually cut something…but it’s also harder to control. That’s why a dull blade can slice a finger quicker than a tomato…and why chefs spend hundreds of dollars on a great knife.
Every knife becomes dull with use. The sharp edge wears out and little chips develop. Cutting will render a blade ineffective…and on its own…it will never become sharp again. A knife cannot sharpen itself. Nor can something weaker than iron, sharpen iron.
Just as a knife can become dull…we too…as Christians…can also find ourselves “dull” and in need of some sharpening in our lives and in our relationship with Jesus.
How sharp are you? Are you as sharp as you ought to be?
I am reminded of the verse in Ecclesiastes 10:10….
Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed. NLT
If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed. ESV
Remember: The duller the ax the harder the work; Use your head: The more brains, the less muscle. MSG
There is such great truth for us in this verse!
Just as a dull knife cannot become sharp on its own…We too cannot become sharp on our own. And it is through wisdom and not our own strength that we will succeed.
Being sharp in our walk with Jesus is certainly very beneficial. I love the way this commentary puts it!
…then must he put to more strength; he must give a greater blow, strike the harder, and use more force; and yet it may not be sufficient, or; it may be to no purpose, and he himself may be in the greatest danger of being hurt; as such are who push things with all their might and main, without judgment and discretion; but wisdom is profitable to direct; this is the “excellency” of wisdom, that it puts a man in the right way of doing things, and of doing them right; it directs him to take the best methods, and pursue the best ways and means of doing things, both for his own good and the good of others; and so it is better than strength…Gills Exposition
So how can we as Christians become sharpened?
The analogy of sharpening a dull knife paints 2 points for us to consider in becoming sharpened as Christians.
An iron knife cannot be sharpened by something weaker than iron. We too cannot be sharpened by something or someone weaker than us!
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 NIV
The 1st way we can be sharpened is by other Christians who are stronger than we are.
God never intended for us to live out our Christian life alone…and in our own strength. He is a relational God and is big on relationships. He oftentimes repeats in the Bible the importance of Christians having fellowship with one another…encouraging one another…discipling one another…supporting one another…praying with one another…and building one another up.
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. Acts 2:42 NLT
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another… Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11NLT
Another great benefit is that in the sharpening of iron with iron…both pieces change…the sharpener and the one being sharpened.
In the same manner our faith is strengthened when we test and encourage another person. We will be strengthened in helping each other to remain strong in the faith, strong in defending the faith, and strong against the direct attacks of the enemy.
Just as the Bereans searched the scriptures daily to confirm the Word (Acts 17:11) …we can sharpen one another by searching the scriptures together to understand God’s Word.
Who in your life sharpens you? Are you rubbing up against…in close relationship…with other Christians who are stronger than you?
The 2nd way we can be sharpened is by the Word of God.
I love this! The Word of God is actually referenced as a two-edged sword…Talk about sharper and more powerful than your little ol’ kitchen knife!
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT
You can’t get any sharper than that!
Are you being sharpened by the Word of God? Are you spending time studying and learning the Word of God?
If we want to be sharpened, we must turn to God’s Word…not just for strength but for wisdom.
Remember Ecclesiastes 10:10 reminds us that being sharpened is using wisdom. And wisdom comes from the Word of God. (FYI…knowledge is knowing the facts…wisdom is applying knowledge)
For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6 NIV
This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. 1 Corinthians 1:25 NLT
When we think of sharpening a blade…or sharpening ourselves… it’s always done for a purpose.
A chef doesn’t sharpen his or her knife so it looks better lying on the kitchen counter. Sharpening is done to make it more effective and efficient. If we sharpen a knife for years and never put it into use…it will eventually be sharpened down to nothing…with nothing to show for all that honing.
So too it is with us being sharpened by the Word of God. God has a purpose in sharpening us…not just for us…but for others as well.
Iron sharpens iron. We cannot be sharpened by something or someone weaker than us. We need relationships with stronger Christians and the Word of God to bring us the Godly wisdom to succeed as we walk out our Christian lives.
My challenge to you today is not only…How sharp are you? …BUT…Who are you sharpening?
- How sharp are you? Are you as sharp as you ought to be?
- So how can we as Christians become sharpened?
- Who in your life sharpens you? Are you rubbing up against…in close relationship…with other Christians who are stronger than you?
- Are you being sharpened by the Word of God? Are you spending time studying and learning the Word of God?
- Who around you are you sharpening?
- Just as a dull knife cannot become sharp on its own…We too cannot become sharp on our own. And it is through wisdom and not our own strength that we will succeed. Being sharp in our walk with Jesus is certainly very beneficial.
- As Christians, we can become sharp by rubbing up and having relationship with other Christians who are stronger than we are and by receiving wisdom from the Word of God.
- It is so important that we are connecting and building relationships with other Christians and the best way to do this is through getting involved at your church. Serving and attending bible studies/small groups is the best way to begin rubbing up against Christians who are stronger than us who can sharpen us.
- Spending time in God’s Word will no doubt sharpen us. This is how we will gain and receive wisdom from the Lord. And it is this wisdom that we direct us…guide us…strengthen us…and help us succeed in walking out our Christian life.