“You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

Do you have any good friends? I mean really good friends. The kind that, when you aren’t with them, you wish you were? I have been blessed with a few such relationships in my life, and those folks are just about my favorite people to hang out with. We get each other’s jokes, we laugh at each other’s mistakes, and we know that we’ve got each other’s back (and prayers) when problems come.

But despite the good times we have together, the best part of those relationships are the spiritual growth they bring about in me. It’s true! They don’t just smile and nod when I’ve got a wrong attitude or am out of line. They (gently, usually) let me know it!

The only way to get those kinds of relationships is by spending time together, getting to know each other’s true selves. I allow those friends to speak into my life because I know they’re the “real deal.” I know they spend time with God and how they live their lives on a day-to-day basis. There is no way I’d let some Joe Blow that sits three rows over from me in church do that, because I wouldn’t know if I could trust their judgement.

God places these people in our lives to help accomplish His work. He knows that although He is with us always, it’s often easier for us to get the point He’s trying to get across to us through a live human being sitting across the table from us with a cup of coffee.

If you do have relationships like this in your life, it’s a great blessing. Thank God for it, and for the growth you experience through them. Pray against offense and for pure motives on both sides. If you don’t have such friends, I pray that God will send some your way. I pray that you will become the kind of friend someone else needs to sharpen their faith. And I pray that when that friend does come into your life, the Lord will protect that relationship as it helps mold you into what He has in mind.