The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Accountability


How to Reach Your Full Potential


As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17


Anyone who has ever owned a knife understands this proverb. When iron becomes blunt, another piece of iron is used to sharpen it. That process necessarily in­volves heat, friction, and very close contact. You can’t sharpen an ax from a distance. You have to get close enough to make the sparks fly.

Even so, one man may “sharpen” another, but you have to get close enough to let the sparks fly. That implies openness, honesty, vulnerability, and the willingness to receive constructive criticism.

Howard Hendricks says that every man needs a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy. Paul represents that person in your life to whom you look for spiritual leadership. He (or she) is that person who keeps urging you to “press to­ward the mark” of God’s high calling in your life. This person could be a husband or a wife. More often it will be a close friend or a co-worker; very often it might be an older person you greatly admire. Your “Paul” is that one key person you look to when things begin to fall apart, when your back is against the wall, when you find your­self confused about the next step you should take. You’ll grow faster if you’ve got someone around you who can give you good counsel when you really need it.

Barnabas represents that person in your life who is probably your best friend. He (or she) is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. You may not get much advice from this friend (except indirectly), but your “Barnabas” is that person who brightens your life by his very pres­ence. Your “Barnabas” could be a husband or wife, but often will be a very close friend who can weep over your defeats and cheer your victories. This person is a true “Son of Encouragement” to you, lightening your load simply by being there for you. We all need a “Barnabas,” for life is tough enough as it is.

Timothy represents that person in your life to whom you are a “Paul.” He (or she) may be a new believer or a younger Christian. He (or she) will be a person in whom you sense great potential for Jesus Christ. As you spend time together, you share your heart, your understanding of God, your daily walk with Christ. You let this person get close enough to see you, warts and all. Why? So that you can develop your “Timothy” into a strong soldier for Jesus Christ. This may be done in a formal way, by meet­ing weekly for prayer and Bible study. Or it may happen as you check in with each other to see how things are go­ing. You need a “Timothy” in your life so that all the things God is teaching you don’t stop with you.

So . . .

Who is your “Paul"?

Who is your “Barnabas"?

Who is your “Timothy"?

You need a mentor, you need a close friend, and you need someone who looks up to you for guidance. Or to say it another way, follow Paul, be a Barnabas, find a Timothy.


Lord, I see too many blunt edges in my life. Sharpen me that I might be a useful tool in Your hands. Amen.


How do you answer the three questions above?

Who is currently holding you accountable for your own spiritual growth? If the answer is “no one,” what do you plan to do about it?


Want instant access to all 100 daily devotionals? The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon is available in ebook format for the Kindle, Nook, or Ipad. Purchase your copy here!  

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