‘As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.’ Proverbs 27:17
We all have them. The iron sharpeners. I know this verse is a reminder of our constant need for fellowship to encourage one another. It reminds me about the subject of community that I have spoken of before. I know in many stages of my life I would not still be standing if I didn’t have the cheerleaders God has sent to me. ‘And let us not neglect our meeting together as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that his return is drawing near.’ Hebrews 10:25
On the other edge of the blade sort of speak is where we have the grace growers. Iron sharpening iron consists of rubbing the two blades together making the edges sharper and therefore more efficient. This is true when two people sharpen each other with the word of God in essence fulfilling the law of Christ as they grow together more in Him. But have you touched iron before? It is hard, solid, sometimes rough and heavy, an element used in making metal and sometimes magnetic. It is also by definition strong and enduring.
The reference that I heard about grace growers is they are the difficult people in our lives, the ones that rub the wrong way but essentially are part of God’s plan to rub the things out of us that need to go. If you think of those people right now, do they feel like instruments for God’s good in your life? Although I heard this term in a different context, this is what Graham Cooke says, “God deliberately puts people around us who are meant to be loved by us. Oftentimes, we will have to be very creative to love them; some of them, by design, are not easy to love. But those unlovable ones, ironically, teach us the most about God’s heart. I call people like these grace growers. They cultivate the grace in my life by forcing me to be intentional in loving them.”
I read recently that emotions travel 80, 000 times faster than thoughts do. I think then when it comes to grace growers it is imperative that I ‘do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Then I will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ as it says in Romans 12:2. The training of my mind to think on things that are true, right, pure, lovely and excellent will help me respond in God’s way to the grace growers. Emotion motivates thoughts and if I let that happen when I am rubbed the wrong way by someone, then my response is far from godly. Hear me say, this is a process and I am far from perfect in it but I can more easily recognize these people in my life and choose to bless them rather than curse them. It is fairly apparent when I reflect back over the years how God has sent me grace growers in different skin that rise up the same reactions in my flesh , that my lesson (s) are still a work in progress.
Graham Cooke also talks about a concept called ‘moving in the opposite spirit’. When you move in the opposite ways of your sinful nature or say the sinful nature coming against you through your grace growers then you are moving in harmony with God’s ways and the enemy loses ground. I just listened to Graham Cooke’s Clothed in His Presence and it just affirmed all that I was speaking of today. I think I am done. 🙂 May your grace growers encounter God in your responses.