Are you a blessing to those around you? Should you be? If so, what does it take to effectively speak into their lives, encouraging them and helping them to live a thriving life?
Those Who Have Helped You
God has designed us for community—we grow through our interactions with others, as iron sharpens iron. Who are some of the people who have been most positively influential in your life? Are you glad they took time to sharpen you and help you grow?
You Are a Valuable Resource
Perhaps we know that we should be building up others and helping them to grow in wisdom and truth, but we find it challenging to speak into their life effectively. Or sometimes, we may think, “who am I to think I can help them?” It is only when we recognize that we don’t have all the answers that we can be used by God to work His purposes in the lives of those around us.
Two Keys Make Up the Bridge
Think of a bridge over a wide river. One bank represents the thriving life we are all called to live. The other bank represents a person God has placed in our life. We desire that our friend has the thriving life that he wants, the life that’s effective for the Lord’s Kingdom and our community. In order to bridge the space between, we will need two keys.
Knowing the What
The first key is knowledge and wisdom of what a thriving life looks like. Those wise men who have mentored us are a good resource for this knowledge, and of course the principle source of all wisdom is the Holy Scriptures. As we read and study God’s Word, we learn what He is like and over time we see a clearer and clearer picture of what a Christ-life really looks like.
Knowing the Who
The other key is personal. We must know the person we’re speaking to. It’s fine to share general knowledge—in fact, what you’re reading now is this very thing: generalized knowledge shared publically. But to really build up others around us and be effective in being the iron sharpening iron, we must have relationships. And not just realationships on the surface, but real and deep relationships. How easy it is to let our interactions with others remain shallow and casual, but this is not the thriving life we’re called to. Instead, we must choose to take an interest in people, really value them for who they are, and listen to them.
Tomorrow, ask God whom he would have you reach out to. Go to that person and ask them about their favorite topic: themselves! Start with something like, “so how long have you worked here?” “Oh, really? Well how did you come to work here?” Listen to what they share, and ask them follow-up questions. You will be surprised how quickly they will go into detail about who they are and what drives them. Don’t fake interest, really be interested and keep asking them to explain more. In so doing, you will have discovered the second key—cultivating authentic relationships.
Be a Blessing
With these two keys, we can all become more effective iron-sharpeners, ready to be used by our Heavenly Father to affect His purposes. We will be more of a blessing to those around us, and as we all grow in this path, we help each other to live more of a thriving life!