Monday, September 16, 2019

How to be the sharpest knife in the drawer

The past couple of weeks I had a number of "Iron Sharpens Iron" messages in my inbox, so I thought it behooved me to share them with you. Great post to restart my blog with, after a more than 1/2 year hiatus!

Sally Clarkson shared a post that resonated, and although it feels like she was talking more about "girl" friends ("Girls Club"), the message holds true for all friends...

One of the devotionals I look at (Student Devos ~ Because all my kids are still students) also posted about choosing GOOD friends who will help sharpen character and integrity, not mediocre or "bad" friends who won't help growth at all and possibly even cause some damage (which isn't to say don't hang out with those who don't align with your faith/ideals/character, but don't spend the better part of your time with them).
Watch what you're "sharpening" with... so that you don't become blunt, or even slightly dull from lack of use.

Then I read an interesting article on  (not a "Christian" site per se, but most of the points were solid, somewhat ironic given that "Charm is Deceitful" ... ☺) starting with the quote
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” 
and ending with the advice to 
"Choose your friends wisely and surround yourself with excellence. 
Find the people who elevate you. 
Choose the events that inspire you. 
Embrace the habits that improve you.
These are all themes that are Biblically sound! 
In between, the article discusses a number of studies that corroborate those two points, and some of the psychological hows and whys, for those have a more secular bent.

I am reminded of a time in my life a number of years ago when I had a friend who was frequently negative, talking about things that weren't uplifting, criticizing and complaining much of the time and I noticed how weary I was and I didn't like the way I was beginning to view and relate to the world. I then had the opportunity to visit a new friend for an afternoon, and the contrast was eye-opening. When I left her home I felt refreshed, renewed, and revitalized, simply because the conversations we had were positive and encouraging. We didn't necessarily have any deep discussions that day, but just the general tenor of our visit was uplifting. 

When spending the majority of time with those who are engaged in behaviors that are not beneficial, and do not help to build good character and integrity (rude conversation, constant sarcasm, tearing down of others, foul language*), some of which can be harmful to health (vaping/pot-smoking/drinking all come to mind, there are others as well), it is very likely that the behaviors will begin to be accepted as normal, and possibly become behaviors that are engaged in, not just observed.

When the majority of  *quality time is spent with those who concentrate on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable (Philippians 4:8), *those are the characteristics that will be reflecting God's love and drawing people to Him. 

So as a new school year starts, as new activities begin, and even as some acquaintances/friendships are renewed, be wise. <- and="" as="" dads="" for="" just="" kids="" moms="" need="" not="" p="" reminders="" the="" these="" we="" well="">
Choose to spend time with those who will lift you up and bring you (and subsequently those around you) life.

*side note~ Christians are often singled out as being hypocritical, but that is not a trait that is limited to Christianity. The phrase *be kind*  has become a recent slogan in popular society. That is a good thing! However, I find it very difficult to take people using/espousing it seriously when their speech is filled with 4 and 5 letter foul language, particularly when two of the most common relate to violent and derogatory speech towards women~ not exactly *kind. 



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