July 30, 2010
Friends That Sharpen
Friend To Friend
Whether it's over a steaming mug of dark roasted coffee, a frilly lunch served at the local sushi restaurant, or a power walk in the wee hours of the morning, my accountability partner and I meet regularly to speak into each other's lives. We trust each other. We challenge one another. I'm a better woman because she's my friend - because she speaks with honesty and courage - because she is for me - because she turns my heart toward God and His ways.
As much as I love girlfriend time - and I truly do love girlfriend time - there's a depth to this particular friendship that flows to the core of who I am. I often feel uncommonly exposed during our conversations. Vulnerable, yet safe. She gets in my grill about my priorities, marriage, mothering, ministry, and faith matters ... and I welcome it. I need it.
We all need friends. We need people in our lives that will love us where we are and help us get to a place of higher living. We need friends that will hold us accountable to God's standards - friends that sharpen us.
The Bible makes a compelling to point about this type of friendship. "Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose]." (Proverbs 27:17, AMP)
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible says of this principle: "We are cautioned to take heed whom we converse with. And directed to have in view, in conversation, to make one another wiser and better."
Take time to consider your friendships today. Do you have any friends who sharpen you and challenge your "worthy purpose"? Who make you wiser and better? Is there anyone in your life who asks you tough questions, shares godly truths, and confronts you when you need confronted? If so, thank God for her. Purpose to connect with her regularly, grant her permission to continue to speak into your life, and ask that she give you permission to do the same.
Are you that friend to anyone? Do you long to have deeper friendships? If you find yourself in a wide pool of shallow friendships, I'd encourage you to pray about it. Pray that God would bring meaningful friendships to your life and that He would teach you what it looks like to be a good friend.
Sharon, Mary and I delight to come along side of you each day as your Girlfriends In God - to spur you on and encourage you towards Christ, but we could never replace the real-life friendships God intends for you to have. "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NIV)
When we have a friend that sharpens and we become a friend that sharpens, our lives are enriched. Think about what our churches, our neighborhoods, our marriages, our work places, and our lives would look like if we all had this type of friend in our lives. Helen Keller said it beautifully: "Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."
Dear God, Thank You for friendships. You know the people in my life and the needs of my heart. Please help me to grow as a woman who is able to pour into the life of her friends. Help my heart be open to constructive feedback that a friend might speak to me, and give me the capacity to love my friends as You love them.
In Jesus' Name I pray,
Now It's Your Turn
Send a card, an email, a letter, or a text to a friend today ... just to bless her.
1 Corinthians 15:33 says, "Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." Are there any friends in your life that are toxic? If so, prayerfully consider how that relationship affects you, your family, and your faith. If a friend encourages you to make bad choices and to live contrary to God's Word, then it's probably time to reconsider the friendship.
More From The Girlfriends
Need help finding a trustworthy, accountability friend? Pray about it first, then connect with the women's ministry director or family pastor at your church and ask if they could introduce you to some women who would be well suited and available for such a friendship.
GOT FACEBOOK? Gwen loves her Facebook friends! J Stop by Gwen's page at www.Facebook.com/GwenSmithMusic. While you're there, leave a message on her wall - listen to a few songs - share the page with your FB friends! (She interacts with and prays for her page friends regularly!)
Every beautiful act of friendship begins with the heart. Has your heart been hurt by a friend? If you would like to learn more about how your brokenness can be transformed into a picture of God's beauty, order Gwen's book Broken Into Beautiful. This resource will help you experience the power of hope, healing, and restoration!
LIKE SAVING MONEY? Check out the SPECIALS on Gwen's website at http://www.gwensmith.net/store/specials.htm. When you order more than one CD, you save!
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.
Originally published Friday, 30 July 2010.