“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)

I didn’t mind walking around with wrinkles as long as I was comfortable and warm. Even now as an adult, I will try to find a way around ironing. Still, I have come to realize ironing is a necessary part of making myself presentable. Thankfully, my husband is an ironer!

But when I think about the reference in Ephesians to a spot or wrinkle, I can’t help but think of the appliance we use to remove wrinkles from clothing, an iron.

This illustration reminds me of the scripture in Proverbs that says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”(Proverbs 27:17 NIV).

At first glance, this scripture can seem completely unrelated. This verse is referring to two tools that sharpen each other so that they can become more useful. However, when we take this word picture and combine it with our knowledge of ironing, we realize that in some cases iron (the metal) is used to straighten and in other cases, it’s used to strengthen.

With this connection in mind, let’s return to the idea of a spot or wrinkle. Just as spots indicate sin that needs to be cleansed, wrinkles point to unsurrendered or subtle areas of our flesh that need to be corrected.

They are the things that a friend or family member may point out to us about our habits or speech, or the offenses continuing to build up bitterness within us. They are the subtle external or internal struggles that could hinder us from growing in Christ.

I believe wrinkles are revealed and ironed out in godly communities. Such wrinkles may also require self awareness and surrender of old patterns that may have stuck around.

As the body of Christ, if we are operating as God intended, we will constantly aim to help each other stay on the straight and narrow path, sharpening each other and ironing out wrinkles.

When we acknowledge that the ironers in our lives are those around us that both straighten and strengthen us, we will become more receptive and less defensive to their godly wisdom. Although it’s much easier to be the one sharpening than the one being sharpened, we must remember that it is when we experience both that wrinkles are removed.

Indeed, God does the removing of spots and wrinkles, but He does it through His word and His people. Repentance, redemption, conviction, and community will cultivate a church that is ready for His return, a church that is without a blemish.

Today, consider who God has placed in your life to help you iron out the wrinkles and what spots God has shown you that need to be cleansed. Lean into repentance, redemption, conviction, and community and watch how your relationship with God grows.