Friends That Sharpen

Whether it’s over a steaming mug of dark-​roasted coffee, a frilly lunch served at the local sushi restaurant, or a power walk in the wee hours of the morning, my accountability partner and I meet regularly to speak into each other’s lives. We trust each other. We challenge each other. I’m a better woman because she’s my friend — because she speaks with honesty and courage — because she is for  me — because she turns my heart toward God and His ways.

As much as I love girlfriend time — and I truly do love girlfriend time — there’s a depth to this particular friendship that flows to the core of who I am. I often feel uncommonly exposed during our conversations. I feel vulnerable, yet safe. She gets in my grill about my priorities, marriage, mothering, ministry, and faith matters . . . and I welcome it. I need it.

We all need friends. We need people in our lives who will love us where we are and help us get to a place of higher living. We need friends that will hold us accountable to God’s standards — friends that sharpen us.

The Bible makes a compelling point about this type of friendship. Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose].” (Proverbs 27:17, AMP)

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible  says of this principle: “We are cautioned to take heed whom we converse with. And directed to have in view, in conversation, to make one another wiser and better.”

Take time to consider your friendships today. Do you have any friends who sharpen you and challenge your “worthy purpose”? Who make you wiser and better? Is there anyone in your life who asks you tough questions, shares godly truths, and confronts you when you need to be confronted? If so, thank God for her. Purpose to connect with her regularly, grant her permission to continue to speak into your life, and ask that she give you permission to do the same.

Are you that friend to anyone? Do you long to have deeper friendships? If you find yourself in a wide pool of shallow friendships, I’d encourage you to pray about it. Pray that God would bring meaningful friendships to your life and that He would teach you what it looks like to be a good, godly friend.

These online blog posts are purposed to encourage you toward Christ, but they could never replace the real-​life friendships God intends for you to have. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 – 10, NIV)

When you have a friend that sharpens and become a friend that sharpens, your life is enriched. Think about what our churches, our neighborhoods, our marriages, our work places, and our lives would look like if we all had this type of friend in our lives. Helen Keller said it beautifully: “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”

For Your Reflection:

What friend (or friends) came to your mind as you read this today? Leave a comment and tell us about your girlfriend that sharpens you!


About Gwen Smith

Gwen Smith is a speaker, author, songwriter, and worship leader who inspires women toward the heart of God through stories, songs, and Scripture. Her fun, enthusiastic, and relatable communication style puts audiences at ease and bridges generational, denominational, and racial divides. […]

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  1. Jennifer Long says:

    I do have an accountability partner and I thank God for her. Sometimes I don't… LOL, but she always speaks truth into my life.

  2. God brought a friend in my life who is my tennis coach and she is definitely one of those friends. She has been very truthful and confronts me when I need it. She is a friend like no other-​always looking out for me and my best interest. I will always cherish our special friendship. 🙂

  3. Terry Rerich says:

    My friend, Helen, has been an important part of my life since my oldest daughter was born, 38 years ago. Though life took us on separate paths for a few years, our friendship floated on through the years and has, now, grown stronger and more important. The trials we each have had with our children has kept us stronger also because we have Christ in our hearts and each other here on earth to lean on. I am spending time with her next week for some much needed "Sissy" time and some important things will be shared from our to one. Pray for us as we are up in our years, as God shall have His plans for our lives later on, for sure! We both know that! Thanks for listening!

  4. Gwen is right on the mark. This friend is the kind of friend who is Jesus Christ with skin on as the little kid said when he was afraid of the dark. I feel so blessed. J

  5. Thank you Gwen for this post and reminder on how important a godly friend is to our lives. I prayed mine in a little over a year ago and thank God for her daily because I know that she is a gift from Him!

  6. As I was reading this, my beloved friend quickly came to my mind she is such a wonderful and godly friend ever ready to encourage, reprove, pray and stand by me! Am so blessed to ve her in my live. Funny as it may sound as I pause to think about her, a call came in, and it was her calling! And also my younger sister I praise God for their lives.

  7. Terry Rerich says:

    Yesterday I got a call from my job…could I work Monday instead of Tuesday? Sure can,,, get to leave a day earlier to visit my friend and daughter in Waco. Isn't God awesome! I didn't even have to ask! Hallellujah! He indeed honors our hearts desires and is a Great God to His children. Thanks for your encouraging all.

  8. Terry Rerich says:

    I became aware of how many friends I do NOT HAVE when I read the statement,,,"wide pool of shallow friendships" really hit home on why I feel so lonely! Gotta go see my "sissy". We laugh, we cry, we rebuke each other, we comfort, we gripe.…lol…we repent…lol… and hug..and spew coffee out our mouths when we are laughing so hard…(this has happened more than once)! I love her goofy self.

  9. I love this article. I am blessed to have 2 friends who I can say I can be completely honest and open with. These women love me in my uglyness and still respect the Godly woman and so do I for them (that's not always found in "church" friends). Friendship is really an opportunity, its the opportunity to be loved like Jesus, to be accepted as Jesus accepts us. It's my desire that all women ask God for that sister/​friend in who's presence she can be herself and feel loved.…the friend that will bring out the Jesus in her and help her to in her growth as a person. Thanks for this posting.

  10. My friend, Mary is this kind of friend to me. I praise God for her; she is truely a friend that sharpens me and makes me want to be everything that God wants me to be.

  11. Gwen,
    I love the way God speaks to you and through you because I was just talking to a friend yesterday about this same subject and I was talking about how grateful I am that since I have stopped trying to develop relationships without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I see how He has placed some girlfriends in my life to sharpen me and others that I with His help sharpen. Our God is such an awesome God and I am so thankful for the rich relationships that He has been building in this season of my life and journey with Him. I truly thank God for your words and songs which are truly a blessing to me.

  12. I've come through one of the worst years of my life and I have two friends who walked alongside me, sometimes crawled alongside me, when I was in some pretty serious emotional danger. They held me accountable and kept me honest, as well as comforting me and encouraging me when I needed it. Told me hard truths, walked me through painful decisions I couldn't have made on my own, came to my house to get me out in the sun, brought me soup, watched my daughter, kept telling me I was going to make it. Now the Lord is using me to do the same for one of those friends. And it's an honor and a privilege to return the blessing.

  13. This has been the longing of my heart for about a year…still waiting.

    • There are no easy answers or solutions, Ann. I'd encourage you to pray (obviously) and then look for ways to connect with and bless other women. When we serve others, we can often break through relationship barriers.

  14. Jacqueline Ballard says:

    I didn't realize how much I needed that friend until I got that friend in the past two years. We call our friendship a gift from God. I don't think we'd be friends if hadn't been for God. I thank God everyday for my friend that is in my life. She does hold me accountable for my actions. She makes sure I am walking the path I need to be on and that my thoughts are focused on God and what God wants for me in my life. It's not always easy. There are many tears shed during our couch time together (Our bible study!) There are times where I just want to shut her out and run away because I don't want to face what she is saying about me. Yet everything she says and does for me is out of love. It's the same for her. I'd do anything for her. I remind her of things. I keep her accountable to her actions. It's not easy. So not easy. However it's strengthening us both. Not just in our friendship but who we are as people. How our Faith is. We are growing and I can't thank God enough for her. Having that friend being that friend is amazing and I encourage everyone to open their hearts up to that person!

  15. I love your comment about having and being a friend who sharpens. I've just quoted you on our blog @ http://​www​.GirlfriendsCoffeeHour​.com. 🙂

  16. Gwen Eisaman Smith, thnk you for being my friend! and a friend to all the GIGs! Your music, your writing your LIFE is inspiring! Thanks for refleting to us how to love like Jesus.

  17. I do have some.…thank God.

  18. Susan Holec Lowrance says:

    Praise God I can think of three!

  19. Hi my name malina i just move to Greenville sc i love God i want meet godly peoples .

  20. My friend is Lori Brand. We are definitely two well sharpened bffs. She is someone else I can count on to always encourage me and be truthful with me. I am blessed by her more than she knows. Now I also have a sister named Angela that is always there for me more than most of my family except my husband. She happens to be his sister:) I learn from her everyday. These two woman mean so much to me and I will always cherish them and thank my Father in heaven for them. So blessed an I.

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