“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17
“And Jesus said to them all, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” Luke 9:23-24
Our weekly Christian devotional
It was 5:15 on a Thursday night. Like clockwork, a tired man in dirty jeans waltzes into the Penny Road Pub as if he owned the joint. Playfully flipping his baseball cap, it spiraled out of his hand, landing perfectly on one of the beer pulls. A deep sigh bellowed from his lungs as he plopped into a corner stool.
Without saying a word, Kelly nodded her hello. Twisting the cap off his beer, she slid it down to Frank.
The weather was good and the neighborhood pub was bustling nicely for a weekday. Although she was on top of his drinks, Kelly didn’t have time for their usual small talk.
“Frank will understand.” She thought to herself.
Kelly and Frank had seen each other six days a week for the last eight years. Although he was a customer, Kelly considered him a dear friend.
“Hey Kell, are you ready to have a drink with me?” Frank tapped her elbow.
“Aw, Frankie, you know that it’s been thirty two days since my last drink.” She hated to see that sad look in his eye. This conversation had become a nightly routine between the twosome…always when Frank had put away a few.
“I admire your discipline. I wish I could do that. I can’t get to sleep unless I have me a few beers.” Shaking his head in disappointment, Frank tipped his bottle towards her.
It’s not that Kelly didn’t miss drinking. Not only did make the night go faster, her customers tipped much better when she did. But, Kelly’s teenage daughter begged her to stop. Wanting to be a good example, Kelly decided it was never too late to start making better choices.
Pouring him an ice water, she watched Frank pick meticulously at the label on his beer. Unsure if it was his frail frame or his child-like expression, for a brief moment Kelly saw Frank in a light she hadn’t noticed before. He wasn’t just an old man—he was a lost child.
In this dog-eat-dog kind of world, it can feel impossible to be a good friend. Kelly loved her daughter enough to stop drinking, but did she love Frank enough to stop serving him? Her heart pricked with a new kind of conscience that she never felt before. Serving Frank felt wrong. Could this man count on her to start being the kind of real friend she claimed that she was? Did Kelly have it in her to be the kind of friend that Proverbs 27:17 spoke of?
Luke 9:23-24 reminds us of the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for the world. This was meant to inspire the supernatural kind of love that puts our personal needs for security, acceptance and approval aside for the behalf of others.
God never implied we were to carry Jesus’ cross. But, as Belivers in Him, we were called to carry our own. Without the help of Jesus dwelling within, this task is simply impossible.
“Dear Heavenly Father,
I say I love others and at times I sincerely think that I do. But, then I see my level of compassion. I’m ashamed to admit that and it seems to be pretty shallow in the light of Proverbs 27: 17 and Luke 9:23-24.
Lord, there are so many layers of protection I have put over my heart. I know that when I make myself vulnerable to others, I am also opening up another opportunity to be hurt again.
Lord, this is wrong. How can I be a light to those who need to see your love if I refuse to engage those who ‘may’ hurt me? I know that true love always includes sacrifice. Help me to be the kind of friend I would like to have.
In the name of Jesus, I bind the spirits of fear, isolation and cold-heartedness. Lord, help me to see where the roots of these thoughts started to corrupt my idea of friendships.
Give me a wise and discerning heart. Help me know which people I need to allow into my life. I know there are only so many hours in a day and I am not obligated to hold onto friendships that you do not sanction. Show me the ones I need to let go of and help me to do this gracefully.
In the name of Jesus, I bless those who have hurt me in the past; I release them from even saying they’re sorry. Forgive me, Lord for I have not always been a good friend, either. I will choose to forgive and I receive your forgiveness as well.
I accept the wisdom and the responsibility I have as a Believer in Christ. I will spread the light of His love by first learning to accept His love and then committing to pass it onto another. Show me what this means, Lord. Show me how to carry the cross that I was meant to bear. Help me to do this with a joyful heart. In Jesus’ name, because it’s the least I could do for all you have done for me, Amen.”
Thank you for reading our weekly Christian devotional on verses: Proverbs 27:17 and Luke 9:23-24
Please check back and see what we have for you next week!
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan