Word of God Applied Rightly (W.A.R.)
Lesson 1: “People That Challenge You!”
Study Date: Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.Proverbs 27:17 KJV
I have always been up for a good challenge. It just seems to be apart of my nature. But the challenges I have taken on in life fit into the “ordinary” challenge category. Playing high school football was an ordinary challenge. Becoming a member of a fraternity was an ordinary challenge. Completing 21 weeks in the Chicago Police Academy was an ordinary challenge. Completing my Masters Degree was an ordinary challenge. Becoming a pastor was an ordinary challenge. Completing my Doctors of Ministry Degree was an ordinary challenge and writing two books was an ordinary challenge. However, God has a way of sending people in your life to redefine the lens of how we view ordinary challenges and consider the “extraordinary” challenges in life.
I met Richard Wilford somewhere around the year 2006. We are the same age, exactly 16 days apart. He is a pastor, as I am. We immediately connected and would give each other encouragement on our sermonic thought process and matching what the old timers would call “mother wit” i.e., “common sense.” We both were challenged leading a small congregation. However, around 2014 Richard’s son De’Angelo was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and succumbed to the cancer in 2017. Richard, a single father, reset the narrative of his life and used his pain to grow. He is living in the “extraordinary.” Within the last four years he has authored four books, working on the fifth book, has recorded a gospel CD, jumped out of airplanes, ministers to countless people and at the age of 52 is training for the Iron Man Contest.
His discipline and vision intrigues me to do more than “ordinary” with the one life I have to live. Richard has rubbed off on me and I am resetting the narrative of my own life goals and ministry to expand and reach more people for Jesus Christ. Thank you Richard for rubbing off on me and being a friend that challenges me.
Dr. Oscar T. Moses
Who’s Rubbing Off On You?
The metaphor of steel rubbing against steel in the first line is applied in the second line to the abrasion or friction necessary for growth in one’s own relationships.The first line is an old proverb: Iron sharpens iron: The image is of metal being used to sharpen a sword or a farming implement. The imagery of steel rubbing against steel in the first line is applied in the second line to a relationship between friends: As iron sharpens iron, so [literally] one friend sharpens another. When iron is rubbed against another piece of iron it shapes and sharpens it. Likewise people can help each other improve their thinking, actions and relationships. The bottom line is people rub off the good and bad on you.
The text ends with, So a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. The Hebrew word for countenance is pāneh, which means to “turn the face or to brighten the face. One translation says to place favor upon. Here it is! The sharpening friend literally turns the company or conversation of his friend. He adds to his wit and his wisdom, character and influence. You maintain the cutting edge.
Thought#1 – “If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.”― Confucius
Group Discussion on Biblical Principles
Read and discuss the following biblical passages and discuss how God challenges us to make us our best selves and sharper.
- Matthew 5:13-16
- Matthew 5:6
- 2 Timothy 2:15
- Ephesians 4:14-16
- Luke 6:28
Group Discussion Questions
- Explain the effects that Proverbs 27:17 have on friendship.
- What role does another person’s influence play on our success or failures?
- Give an example of how someone can negatively rub off on a person.
- Why is it necessary to have friends that challenge you beyond the ordinary?
- Why is constructive criticism good for one’s growth?
- Why is it necessary to have someone you are accountable to with your faith?
- Why do you think people are afraid to be challenged?
- How have your friends challenged you to become a better person?
Group Exercise Challenge
Every congregation should be faced with a challenge to promote individual, healthy, spiritual relationships as well as the overall spiritual health of the church.
- Pick a 30 Day Challenge Partner – There can be 3 to a group if needed.
- Challenge your partner(s) to a “30 Day All in Spiritual Growth Challenge.” Create a 7 Step Plan of what a “30 Day All in Spiritual Growth Challenge” looks like and let the challenge begin.
(c) Rights reserved Dr. Oscar T. Moses – W.A.R. 2020 – 5 People You Need in Your Life