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James 1:2-4 – Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 

Hebrews 12:6,11 – For those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.  All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 9:8 – Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you.  Reprove a wise man and he will love you.

Common Saying – He ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

        I know some players who sharpen their skates every week – it gives a smoother glide, a shorter stopping time, and greater agility.  However, I don’t know any hockey player who likes to skate with dull blades – to have reduced control, inability to make sharp turns, or inefficient movement.   Everybody wants to be ‘sharp’ – or at the very least doesn’t want people saying about them, “he ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed”.   So how can we be sharpened?  Proverbs 27:17 likens sharpening men to sharpening metal - “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”.   

        There are many things about hockey that I love – sometimes it’s the little things – the sounds, the smells, the familiar sights.  Happy Gilmore loved the smell of the ice – as any true hockey player does…  The sound of skates sharpening is another –seeing the sparks fly off the blade as the stone grinds the blade into proper shape instinctively tells a hockey player it’s soon time to step on the ice. 

        And the sharpening is most definitely a grind.  The friction between the stone and the steel makes the sparks fly and the blade is whittled away until it’s how the skater wants it.   And sometimes the friction between people cause some sparks to fly too.  Now, with skates, this is supposed to happen, but I believe scripture tells us to react differently when the ‘grind’ comes.

        What is your first response when someone reproves you - when a brother or sister tries to correct you?  I can tell you mine is often times to put up a wall, to want to be right.  I get offended, I argue.  And I know it’s wrong, but it’s easier to ‘let the sparks fly’ when it’s someone close because I’m less concerned about being embarrassed by exposing my anger. 

        But these are the moments we can be sharpened – where the grind is.  It is the scoffer, the fool, who will turn away from this chance and the wise man who will welcome it.  Proverbs 9:8 - Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you.  Reprove a wise man and he will love you.   We should recognize there are parts of us that need to be grinded away, and be thankful for those who love us enough to help us through it – tough love is hard to receive sometimes. 

        ‘Sharpenings’ are not just from men – on the contrary, we are the Lord’s tools to administer reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:20).  And we see in Hebrews that the Lord will scourge every legitimate son – sometimes this will come through circumstances, sometimes through people.  Scourging /discipline doesn’t sound like fun, which the author recognizes, but will produce the peace of righteousness.  And this is the reason that James 1:2-4 tells us to count it all joy, when we encounter various trials – they are an opportunity to grow so that we may be left perfect, complete, lacking in nothing – sharpened. 


What trials in your life are sharpening you?  Who are the people in your life who sharpen you the most?  How do you usually receive a rebuke, a correction, or a trial? 

For more on sharpening read 1 Peter 1:3-9, Isaiah 48:10, Proverbs 15:5, Proverbs 15:32-33



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