Like most players upon entering high school, I had been an all-star, one of the best players on my little league team, and thought of to be ready for the next level. I quickly discovered, however, that each new level of baseball is better, faster, and more difficult than the one before it. So, I failed, and failed often, just like I would when I reached the collegiate level.
I had solid coaching at all levels of baseball, but one thing that was equally indispensable was the competition between teammates at practice. Better players made me a better player. I would have never improved if not for those with whom I played and competed each day. Our “competition” was not cut-throat, but was simply one player making another better.
Proverbs 27:17–“Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (NASB). Just like those teammates made me a better player, God has designed it so that other believers in Jesus will help to bring us to a greater level of spiritual maturity. This is not about spiritual “competition,” but about growing together.
Several questions come to mind:
1. Who is sharpening you spiritually? Or, are the people around you simply dulling your sensitivity to the things of God?
2. Who are you sharpening? This isn’t about calling people out for the things they do wrong, but about graciously helping people on the path to being like Christ.
3. Are you going through your spiritual life alone? There is no perfect Christian, no perfect church, but each of us needs relationships with other Christians and a church family. That’s the way God designed it. When it comes to quality spiritual relationships, more is better.
4. On the field, are you a tool for sharpening your team and your teammates, or have you lapsed into being a dulling force?
A prayer to pray if you resonate:
Dear Lord, help me answer the questions above in a way that is pleasing to you. Convict me, forgive me, help me move forward to be more like you. Please surround me with people who will sharpen me spiritually. Amen.