"As Iron Sharpens Iron, So One Man Sharpens Another." This verse was written at a time when men converted farm tools into weapons for battle. They rubbed these iron tools together to form sharp blades and points for swords and spears to become effective weapons for combat. Similarly, when men train, encourage, admonish, teach, coach, support, critique, confront, and develop each other, they become effective weapons for spiritual battle and to be loving husbands and fathers.
An analogy I find useful is to envision God as a master blacksmith and Men as raw pieces of iron. God takes the raw iron and forms Man in His image for a specific mission. God allows the fire of adversity to soften man just as the Blacksmith uses fire to heat iron until it is malleable.
God allow persecution, disease, and failure to humble and shape man's character, just as the Blacksmith uses a hammer to beat burning hot Iron into the shape of a sword.
Once man is humble and his character is shaped, God further develops his men through immersion in cold waters of isolation, and betrayal. Similarly, the Blacksmith plunges the red hot beaten sword into cold water allowing it to become rigid and strong.
From this position of quiet solitude, God's Word further refines man's character removing character flaws, pride, fear, and selfishness. Similarly, the Blacksmith's file removes imperfections and blemishes from the Sword.
As man moves from solitude and steps onto the battlefields of life, God continually strengthens and encourages these Spiritual Warriors through His written Word, prayer, circumstances, and other trusted Christian Warriors.
This process of cleaning and refinement is similar to the Blacksmith's use of a polishing cloth to maintain the razor sharp edge on a finished beautiful sword.
These Spiritual Warriors remain razor sharp through accountability relationships with other Spiritual Warriors. Spiritual Warriors sharpen each other through encouragement, transparent and honest communication, admonishment when required, trust, loyalty, and love.
In the Armed Forces, every Soldier has a Battle Buddy. In combat, you never go anywhere alone. You are with your Battle Buddy twenty-four hours a day. You cover his back and he covers your back. This is a Biblical concept. Every effective leader in the Bible had a Battle Buddy. Moses had Arron. Joshua had Caleb. David had Jonathan. Jesus had the twelve disciples. Peter had John Mark. Paul had Timothy. This is God's design for His Warriors.
God is looking for men who withstand the fire of adversity, the hammer of persecution and failure, the cold water of betrayal and isolation, the refining file of God Word, and the polishing cloth of prayers, circumstances, and accountability of a Battle Buddy. Who sharpen you and who do you sharpen? Call your Battle Buddy today. If you don't have a one, call a friend ask them to be consider being your Battle Buddy. Both of you will be sharpened and together you will become effective weapons for life's battles.