We couldn't find what you are looking for. Try searching for something else.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. - Proverbs 27:6 (NASB)
The southern sayin’, “That dog won’t hunt,” means that something might seem like a good idea, but it just won’t work. Sometimes we rely on our own ideas instead of God’s truth, and we need others to remind us, “that dog won’t hunt.”
Do you have a friend who will tell you what you need to hear? That friend you can always count on to tell you that you have toilet paper on your shoe, something on your nose, or that your pants are unzipped?
What about when that same friend has something to say about our behavior or our character? While we are grateful when a friend will speak truth to us in little things, we often don’t want to hear the truth about things that really matter.
In Proverbs 27:6, God says this kind of truth is like a wound, but it is trustworthy. If we take it to heart, it is fruitful in our lives.
On the other hand, how do you feel when you spend time with someone and, after looking at your face for two hours, that person never told you about the spinach in your teeth? Sure, you had a great time while you were with them, but the fun you had in the moment comes to a screeching halt when you realize they didn’t tell you something you needed to hear. They allowed you to continue to live in ignorance.
Proverbs 12:26 says it like this: The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray. Good advice isn’t always easy to hear, and sometimes, we would much rather not hear it at all! That is why we need godly people in our lives.
Don’t let yourselves get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with him. Don’t even hang around people like that. - Ephesians 5:6-7 (MSG)
This week, we are focusing on the importance of friends in our lives who are willing to tell us the hard truth. Once we begin to listen, we have taken the first step towards not believing lies that the enemy would use to deceive us.
In the classic story, The Emperor's New Clothes, some con-men tell an extremely vain emperor that they can weave “magic” fabric for his clothes that can only be seen by those who are upright and fit for their office. Everyone was afraid to say they could not see the emperor’s clothes, so they all just went along with it. No one wanted to offend him or show themselves as unfit or incompetent. It took a child to announce that the emperor was in fact not wearing clothes! Even when the emperor realized what was happening, his pride kept him pretending that the clothes were there.
What is it that keeps you believing lies? Admitting the truth can mean accepting and embracing the hard work that comes with it. Sometimes it means not just receiving hard truth from others, but then, in turn, speaking hard truth to someone else. We can often feel that it is unkind to tell the truth or that, if we love someone, we won’t hurt their feelings, but that’s not how God works.
God’s plan includes a balance of truth and love. Anyone who spends time with kids knows that you often have to tell children what they do not want to hear for their own good. We somehow think we outgrow this as adults, but the reality is we just get better at hiding our need for truth.
For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. - 1 Peter 2:26 (NLT)
As we continue to focus on the importance of having friends who will tell us the truth, as well as opening our hearts to believe it, we will find that God is calling us to a life of freedom.
Sometimes, we miss out on this freedom because we have exchanged it for the lie of our own righteousness. We can struggle to see our need for God’s grace when we think we are behaving well—especially compared to those around us.
When taken to the extreme, it can sound something like this:
This is legalism, and it is dangerous and sinful. These examples may sound outrageous, but I’m guessing no one starts there. It’s a slippery slope and not a new struggle for Christians.
When Paul wrote to the Galatians, he had to remind them that the gospel they were starting to follow was not the Gospel of Jesus. They had returned to works and legalism by following a group called the Judaizers, who taught that keeping the law (of the Old Testament) was what made them Christians. In Galatians 4:16 (NLT), Paul says, Have I now become your enemy because I am telling you the truth? They didn’t want to receive the truth and, in turn, were missing out on the freedom that comes with the true Gospel of Christ.
Warren Wiersbe said it like this: “One of the tragedies of legalism is that it gives the appearance of spiritual maturity when, in reality, it leads the believer back into a ‘second childhood’ of Christian experience.” God is calling us to so much more and longs for us to abandon any self-righteousness based on our works because it hinders our growth.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. - Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)
Have you ever wondered how knife sharpeners actually work? I find it fascinating that you can scrape a knife against something and return it to its original sharpness. Did you know that microscopic particles of the knife are actually being removed?
Those rough edges are being worn down by friction and pressure, not by simple polishing. Even with excellent care, a knife will need to be sharpened over and over again. A dull knife isn’t particularly useful. If you ask any chef, a sharp knife is what they need.
It’s the same in our walk with the Lord: God wants us to be sharpened us and leave the roughness behind. In order to become more like Jesus, we need to have those rough edges worn down and removed, and it isn’t a gentle process.
Psalm 66:10 (NLT) says, You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver. The end result is beautiful, but did you know silver is refined at 1450° Fahrenheit? That’s really hot! There isn’t much left after all that besides the silver—but that’s the point. God wants to weed out everything in us that is not from Him, and it is almost never an easy process.
When we allow friends to speak God’s truth, choose to believe it, and begin to walk in freedom, we start to look more like Jesus. And here is some hard truth for all of us: If we claim to represent Jesus and call ourselves Christians, but we don’t look much like Him and wish others would act more like we do, we have missed the point of the gospel entirely.
…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. - Ephesians 4:13 (NIV)
I just left a conversation with a friend and coworker before I sat down to write this. I asked her if she knew what I was writing about because she just told me something that I needed but really didn’t want to hear!
When I am stressed, busy, or unsure of how something is going to work out, my solution is to plan and organize everything into obedience. The problem with that is, most of it isn’t up to me, and it's usually not what God is asking me to do.
My friend was reminding me that maybe I need to just sit back, wait, and let the Lord work. Maybe God doesn’t need me swooping in and trying to fix things myself. She is absolutely right. I don’t want to let go, but I also believe that God knows so much more than I do and will do a much better job than I will.
She believes what God says in Ephesians 4:15 (NLT). Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
She loves me and wants me to grow to be more like Jesus. So today, I will pray that God will help me let go and that I can patiently wait to see what amazing things He will do.
So, let’s recap.