Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
My friend was strong in his conversation with me. He wasn’t aggressive or argumentative. He was just simply battling my lies with the Truth, gently and thoughtfully with his words. He said, “Mollie, Jesus died for you because He loves you, not because of what He thought you would do for Him one day.” While I had heard this statement many times in Sunday school, at camp, in Young Life, at church, Bible studies, mission trips, etc, it was like I was hearing it for the first time. How had I missed this? How do I continue to miss this when it’s been such a consistent message?
Somewhere along the way, I’ve mistaken the Gospel, or perhaps I’ve created my own form of syncretism: adding my own thoughts or lists of “shoulds” to what I think the Gospel means. I see my value in my functionality. Most of the time, I’m thinking, “What can I do?” or “What’s my role or purpose in this situation?” as if my value is dependent on functionality. It’s like saying the cross was not good enough or that I must earn His love somehow.
My friend likened his point to art, pointing out that some art is created for a purpose – but some isn’t. A song may be beautiful because it was written for someone. Pottery may be beautiful because it is a pitcher or a bowl. And yet, there is a lot of art that is beautiful and of great value, simply because the artist created it and used deep, rich strokes of color and blends that draw the eye in and up the canvas. These pieces of art often do not have any purpose or function. In fact, the artist would be maddened if someone were to use their painted canvas as a door mat or place mat. Not all art has functionality, but all art has great value.
So it is with you and me. Yes, God created us uniquely to serve in ways that have great purpose and function. He can use us as instruments in His hands and delights in doing so. Yet, He died for us because He loves us. He created us because He wanted relationship with us.
That conversation with my friend sharpened me – as iron sharpens iron. It renewed my understanding of the Gospel and allowed me to surrender and rest in Him. It helped me to begin to live more freely out of Jesus’ love for me. And that is my greatest purpose of all.
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called “Barnabas Training Basic” that may be of interest to you.
Simply click here for more information.
Mollie Johnston moved to Charlotte from Tennessee to pursue her Master’s in Counseling at Gordon-Conwell and currently works as the Client Coordinator for The Barnabas Center.