By Michael Sullivant
“As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17 NKJV.
Practicing the Life Model has much to do with the importance of faces … God’s face, the face of Immanuel, other’s faces, and our own face as well. God has given us, even in infancy, the capacity to read faces so we can grow both emotional, relational, and spiritual intelligence.
I had not run across this translation of the passage above until recently. I have heard it quoted many times in other translations and applied to meaningful relationship building. Oftentimes English translations of Hebrew filter out words that speak of the importance of our embodiment. This more literal translation implies how a person’s face can be positively affected by healthy interchanges with real friends. I think of the mark we can make on another’s character through affirmations, storytelling, confessing our weaknesses, loving challenges, and even healthy corrections? The Hebrew idea here is that we can enhance the face or countenance of a friend.
One application of this kind of sharpening is to do with helping others to become their best selves in Christ. Jim Wilder and Ray Woolridge are wrapping up a new book that revolves around this theme. It’s about how we can recognize and escape “enemy modes”. One specific problem has to do with how people do not come “fully forward into their faces”. The brain signals get stuck in a back part of the prefrontal cortex and people settle upon living in a false “as-if” self.
The Life Model Works team will be elaborating on how to “come forward into our faces” to help us remain relational, continually improve our relationships and be our authentic selves who live from the heart Jesus has given us.