Who you surround yourself with does matter. Life is all about relationships. Those relationships will be an enormous part of molding you. If you do not surround yourself with the right kind of people your growth will be stunted. Just as our body requires the correct diet to function and grow properly, so does our character.
“As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17) We find this scripture in Proverbs using iron to symbolize how we need each other. Iron sharpens iron, a piece of iron alone will never become sharpened all on it’s own but when you rub the two metals together they become tools fit for the carpenter’s use.
One thing in this life that we seem to take for granted these days is our relationships with other people. We are so busy in the hussle and bussle and even in the “do it my way” that we forget to grow from each other’s gifts, experiences and culture. It seems sometimes, we can be so narrowminded and hardheaded when it comes to each other. Sitting down with an elder over coffee just to chat seems so far out there these days. Especially, if they do not text or use a cell phone. We miss out on so much not taking the time to learn from one another. Self righteousness seems to have gone rampid. I do not say that to put anyone down, I say that because we have so much technology and digital information that the “I have arrived” mentality takes over so easily, before we even know it. Nothing digital will ever take the place of gleaning from a personal connection with another human and their personal experiences. Take the time to spend quality time with others, it will make you a better person.
Then there is the issue of the company you keep, you can choose to spend time with people who bring you down or you can choose to spend time with people who lift you up and grow you. I am reminded of a few scriptures in Proverbs, “Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go,
Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul.” (Proverbs 22:24-25) These scriptures kind of seem blunt, maybe harsh but when you think about how easily bitterness and anger can set into your spirit, they make so much sense. Have you ever sat and listened to someone who had bitterness in their heart and before you knew it you felt that anger in your own spirit? Your mood completely changed in the midst of the conversation. Better yet, have you ever been so angry and vented to your friend and watched their contenance change? I will admit, I have. Life is tuff sometimes and yes, we do need to let it all out at times but when we make a habit of constantly being negative, angry and bitter everyone who comes in contact with us are affected or might I say infected. Anger can be so contagious and can truly get into our bloodstream, straight to the heart. We all know what comes out of a heart problem……bad decisions that typically affect others. You may think what you say cannot cause someone else to make a bad decision but I promise you it can. Your dinner time conversations of dispute and ugliness can place resentment in your family, causing them to act/react in a way that will forever change the course of their life. What a cycle, one that can only be stopped with YOU.
Oh the pureness of joy that comes from right relationship. Relationships that sharpen you, grow you, make you better and vice versa. When you can teach and they listen, or when they give you words of encouragement and you are uplifted, a give and take relationship always brings hope, peace and joy. These relationships can refine us, sharpen us, mold us into the very tools that our Master, Jesus Christ intended us to be. Tools for good use in the Kingdom of God. Yet, alone, just like the iron…we can only do so much and be so much. We do need one another and who we surround ourselves with does matter.
I do believe God himself places people into our lives to help us grow. I also believe God gives us the wisdom to walk away from the ones who tear our spirits down. It is completely up to us who we choose to speak into our lives. I also believe it is so important that we are that person. That person who uplifts, who teaches, or listens, who gives, who speaks peace, love and joy into other’s lives. It is so important that we ourselves are positioned to sharpen others. The most important relationship you can have is the one with your Heavenly Father. I have learned over the years, it is nearly impossible to keep myself in check if my relationship with Jesus is out of line. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:” (Is. 26:3)
There is no way to be bitter, angry or vile when you have that “perfect peace” peace from God. Stay your mind upon Him, learn of His ways-be in right relationship with Jesus Christ and your earthly relationships will become right. Be a tool always ready to be put to use and be the person always ready to speak life into others to help them be that tool ready to be used. We all are needed in the Kingdom of God. There is so much to do, do not be distracted by negativity it will never come to produce good fruit or sharpened iron : ). Better yet seek the Fruits of the Spirit, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galations 5:22-23) these things will always produce good works.