Iron Sharpens Iron or Iron Sharpens Wood Relationship
Isn’t it amazing the way God works and aligns situations in our lives? We all would love to have friendships and relationships where we get so filled and blessed spiritually, and in every other area that our lives begin to reflect the goodness of God.
I love the illustration of Iron sharpens Iron. It is a much easier relationship to build because there’s a level of expectation we have about each other that we believe will kick start the relationship on a great start and keep it going on a stable and firm trend. However, sometimes God brings you an Iron sharpens Wood relationship that requires you the iron to do 90% of the work, by building up the wood, teaching, discipling and mentoring, and at the same time sharpening the wood and training it to be converted from wood to iron as you are. Now I’ll be honest here; this is not an easy task. I mean, this is a sacrifice. You have to lay down your desires and needs and seek to equip the wood to get to the standard where it begins to look like iron, and act like iron, behave like iron, talk like iron, walk like iron and live life an iron.
During Jesus’ days on earth and walking with His disciples, it wasn’t an Iron sharpens Iron but rather an Iron sharpens Wood relationship. He didn’t go with the well learned and scripturally diverse people. He took the ones that have no clue, unlearned as the Pharisees described. He pours out Himself on them, teach them, mentor them, train them, wash their feet, pray for them, defend them, fast for them, feed them and died for them. All the while He was the one pouring out on them, doing all the hard-work and sacrifice so as to get them to the level where they can resemble Him in everything. And that’s why he said in John 14:12, ‘He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do.’ If you believe in what? In what I have taught you, what I have laid out for you and demonstrated in your presence. However, He didn’t lose hope in them even when it seems like they were not getting it, or when their actions failed to portray what Jesus taught them. Jesus knew that very soon these same timid disciples will turn their nations and the ones around them upside down with His teaching and His ways. They asked him questions that could have made him gave up on them, I mean some of the questions were just outright dumb. Some of us can identify with such, I mean, sometimes we try to ignore the questions from the people God placed under us to sharpen. Especially if you have those that ask a lot of questions. O my goodness! You would have told them a few times about some things but they will ask again, and some of the questions are just like ‘really?’ Didn’t you get what I said, how many times do I have to repeat myself and go over this again? You are like Ughhh….I need a break, please! That’s me, and I’ve done it many times. But the question is, ‘What would Jesus have done in that stage’ would He have groaned like you and me, or would He have gently and lovingly re-explained whatever wasn’t clear?’ I think we get so excited at the beginning of each relationship until half way through, when we discover the time and resources involved, then excuses becomes options.
Discipling is never an easy task, but if God has chosen you to disciple and mentor someone, He sure knows that you can do the job and He has equipped you with everything you need or will ever need to reproduce yourself in that person.
When God gives you an Iron sharpens Wood relationship what do you do? Reject it? Throw it back to Him or just walk away? Recently I heard a phrase from someone that goes like this ‘I just want a simple life.’ How do you define simple? Even sleeping isn’t simple. Yes, it can sound simple but getting to sleep isn’t. Some nights I had to turn and turn and turn before I finally fell asleep. At some point, I thought, ‘I just want to sleep’ full-stop! I don’t want to be fighting pillows and blanket, side positioning before I sleep. Back to our question, how are you handling that discipling and mentoring relationship God has placed under you? How many of us are willing to pick up the burden of our disciples, run with it and pray them out of any trouble situation they find themselves, and praying them into their purpose? God recently placed a few of them my path. O my, my, that wasn’t what I requested. I wanted an Iron sharpens Iron relationship, where someone can pick up my burden, pray for me and cover me up in the spirit and likewise I do the same for them. At least I know it’s a give and take where I pray for you and you do the same for me when needed. I wasn’t excepting 90% commitment from my side at an early stage in the unfamiliar. I am the one that needs settling down and trying to know the environment, so while am doing that someone can be covering me in prayers, please. But it didn’t happen that way.
A few weeks ago my eyes were full of tears, and I said ‘God I don’t know why You’ve chosen me for such relationships, I don’t know how am supposed to impact these lives and when that is going to happen.’ God sure has a reason for planning it all the way it is now. Don’t we pray for such, and then don’t want them the way they present themselves when they manifest? What way do you want your mentees to come looking for you? Well learned? Outspoken? Eloquent in words? Know the Bible cover to cover? Saved? Tongue speaking? No addictions? Washed and Cleansed? Perfect? Prayer warriors? I mean, is anyone of us ready for a mad person, someone insane, beaten and battered, in rags as a mentee when they come knocking at our doors? I pray for the grace to be humble and able to identify our mentees when God brings them no matter how they look.
Question, have you unknowingly turned back your mentees or disciples because they didn’t fit the above listed or your list of expectation?
I watched a TV program way back in 2008 in an African country. This lady and her team of strong men go around the streets and forcefully picks a mad person sleeping on the street, take him/her to a big charity centre, where they pray over that person every day, cut off the dirty hair knots, wash and dress him/her in clean clothes. I heard one of the men who was once mad but later healed giving testimony of how his life turned around, and the opportunity to be among decent people. Wow, what a testimony, what a disciple and mentored job well done!
We like giving excuses of how busy we are, but not really busy. ‘Oh, I am so busy, my schedule is tight, I wish there’s more time’, but we are so busy doing nothing other than talking about how busy we are.
God chose you for that disciple or mentee, you didn’t choose you for them neither did they chose you for them, but God aligned everything according to His plan for your life.
Excuse me, if this post is long, but this message is more for me than for anyone out there because my expectation list has just been made redundant. God chose the people He wants me to be around at this stage of my life and I am praying for grace to do His will.
Are you still holding onto your expectation list? Are you still looking for an Iron sharpens Iron relationship or are you ready to take on the Iron sharpens Wood relationship that God placed your way to train, teach and pray them into their purpose?
Comments are welcome!