DVO June 20, 2019

Friction With Others Can Be Positive

Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
The complexity of relationships involves dealing with all kinds of people. This complexity not only involves adjusting to all kinds of personalities, but being impacted at times by the various kinds of friction that comes when these differences or offenses occur. We are most often affected negatively when some of the differences occur, but our current devotional verse encourages us to consider that friction is not only to be expected, but it can be positive in encouraging us to grow. In the Body of Christ, there is supposed to be a positive impact from the rubbing together of our lives in Christian fellowship, even when this rubbing comes from disagreement. The illustration of two metals rubbing together reminds us that the coming together has a potential of great benefit for causing the rust in our lives to be rubbed away so that we can shine better for the glory of God.

The goal and expectation of this friction is to make people better not bitter, open not closed, safe not defensive, built up not torn down. The consideration is that God can use the various kinds of relationships around us to stretch us to grow into the image of Jesus Christ. This should be the result of positive friction. When we are living yielded to the Holy Spirt, He can help us turn negative conflicts into opportunities for us to grow or use us to help others to grow in the same manner. If we could think in this manner as opposed to being defensive and at times resistant to being used by God to narrow the distance in times, we would see more positive results in our relationships. In fact, more relationships would be true fellowships in the Lord because the forgiving, healing power of Jesus’ Blood is at the foundation of our own forgiven hearts (I John 1:6, 7).

If friction is to become positive, it must be motivated by the love of the Holy Spirit who is in all who have believed. Both in the Old and New Testaments, God tells us that His love in us should cover a multitude of sins (Proverb 10:12; 1 Peter 4:8). In the great verse, John 3:16, God’s example of loving the world of sinners shows us that love’s work among us must go beyond faults and see that all of us have deep needs from sin’s effects in us. All relationships should be governed by this foundational expectation of God to love one another, because we know Him and have been born of Him (1 John 4:7, 8). Also, for friction to have its perfecting work in our relationships, there must be the submission to humility. Humility is almost the very opposite of how most of us naturally act and think. God teaches us that humility is the demonstration of the mind of Christ — that though in lowliness of mind, we will esteem others better than ourselves without losing who we are in our personal relationship with Him (Philippians 2:1-5).

Prayer: Father in Heaven, teach me how to take reproofs from friends and enemies, even though I may not deserve them. Please show me how to use them to make me tenderly afraid of sin in my life, and more concerned to keep my heart and life clean before You. Please cause the reproofs from friends and enemies help me reflect on my want and need for greater spiritual perspective, and to make them beneficial to my soul to grow into the image of my Lord Jesus. Please give me Your spiritual perspective of myself that I may be able to take all reproofs from others as from You — so that any pride in me will be destroyed, in Jesus name, amen.

(by Pastor Wayne Cockrell)