Iron Sharpening Iron

"As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." – Proverbs 27:17 by M. William Ury

I consider the most important spiritual experience of my life to be the invitation by a friend to discipline my spiritual life. Everything good in my life came from the decision to meet weekly and keep one another accountable, face to face.

Interestingly, self-improvement is a major theme in our shelter-in-place world. Fitness, languages, hobbies, and music are being honed. Have you also noticed a lot of introspection occurring? We have unsought space to grow. Being better normally requires accountability. Every book I have ever read on discipleship quotes this verse. In essence, John 3:16 must be followed by Proverbs 27:17 for growth to occur.

I find several important life applications in this verse:

  • Mutual love and care
  • Willingness to be vulnerable and correctable
  • Deepening intimacy

Healthy relationships are rooted in reciprocal trust. That is only possible if one is truly heard. Mutual honesty is the basis of maturing love. We are not made to be alone, and it is impossible to grow in isolation.  

In an accountability group, every member was asked weekly, “How is your spiritual life?” Methodism grew from that very question. They learned that speaking truth in love is the basis of real change. Sharpening our nature is never effortless. To whom are you related at the soul level?  

The Army is astoundingly efficient and productive, but I find that we are not so good at mutual accountability for the deepest part of our souls. Doing good often takes precedent over deepening our relationship with Jesus. We must not let crises, our constant movement or personal reservation keep us from being known.  


If you are seeking a healthy improvement, pray about a mutually sharpening relationship with at least one person where mutual sharpening might occur.


Jesus, help me to not miss your purpose for my life, to love You with all my heart, and to make disciples face to face – of all nations. Amen.

ALL Articles