Originally Posted by Mike Young June 2006
Guys, according to many studies and observations, men (especially Christian men) are friendless.
I’ve talked to a number of men about this and there is some logic to the problem. In elementary, middle and high school we all had buddies that were part of our daily lives and experiences. We celebrated and commiserated about school, sports, dreams, girls and all sorts of boyish things. We had friends in those days.
Then early in our adult lives as soldiers, college students or entry level employees we found a few men at the same station in life. We experienced life together and often talked about it with each other. We had friends in those days as well, just fewer of them.
But, somewhere along the journey, our paths separated. We became self conscious about what and who we knew, about how much money we made, the size of our house or what we had achieved. So, what we used to talk about freely became off limits. We learned to put on happy faces and pretend that there are no struggles. Unfortunately when we can’t talk about our losses, we can’t talk about our victories either. So we live solitary lives. Does your life fit this pattern?
Why is it so important to have brothers who walk through life with you? Consider Ecclesiastes 4:10; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.
Rarely does anyone talk about friendships with men without citing Proverbs 27:17; As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Many of us can recite the verse but I bet few have considered its implications. Here are some thoughts that come to my mind.
As a young boy, my father taught me how to sharpen knives and axes. I can sharpen an axe so it will shave hair off your arm. It’s a fun challenge and takes some practice. You have to apply considerable pressure to the file using a practiced method to get this result. When you do it right, the axe has a sharp polished blade, it’s no longer dull and covered with rust, dirt or sap, and there are iron filings on the floor.
The interesting thing is this… I’ve never been able to do it without actually touching the file to the blade of the axe.
Men, to sharpen each other, there has to be…
We have to spend some time together in recreation, fellowship and service.
Sometimes you have to ask another man questions he doesn’t want to answer, (you have to be willing to answer tough questions as well).
Your goal should be to make another man better and help him along, not belittle or defeat him by constantly pointing out his deficiencies.
When one man sharpens another, some things must be left behind. In order to prepare a man to do his best work he must throw of everything that hinders…or entangles. Hebrews 12:1
We are like axes that do their best work when they are sharp. We should also be like files as we help other guys become better men.
Men need to be both at various times in their lives. I’ve been on both sides of this equation. Thankfully, I have been sharpened by some godly men. Likewise, I have had privilege and opportunity to sharpen others. As many of you know, the process is not often pleasant but the result is very satisfying. I want to be well prepared to serve God as he directs. In order to be a useful tool in His hand, I must be polished and sharp.
Are you and the men around you as sharp as you should or could be? Who will you allow to sharpen you? Who will you sharpen?