Study Guide For Tony & Steve: Iron Sharpens Iron Man by Michelle Fay Schwenk
Steve and Tony: Iron Sharpens Iron Man
This devotional is based on Chapter 6 in Faith & Fandom 7
Let’s look at 1 Samuel 16.
Samuel is on his way to anoint the second King of Israel
If you don’t know the back story here of the first king of Israel, Saul, it could be helpful to review. Saul’s story is an interesting story in itself.
In verses 1-4, Samuel has a variety of emotions: list them
Why does Samuel feel sad (in mourning)?
Why is he scared?
How would you describe God’s relationship with Samuel? How do you react to that?
When Samuel arrives in the city, why are the elders of the town scared (tremble when they met him)?
Why did God instruct Samuel to do a sacrifice with Jesse and his family?
What does consecrate mean?
Why does Samuel instruct them to “consecrate themselves” before coming to the sacrifice?
Why does Samuel then consecrate Jesse and his sons before the sacrifice?
Why did Samuel initially think that Eliab was the Lord’s anointed? (See the irony in 1 Samuel 10:23-24)
How does God say that he judges people?
How is it easy or difficult for us to judge people in this same way?
Can you think of a time that you were judged without people knowing the full story (knowing your heart)?
Can you think of other references in movies or pop culture where a character is not judged correctly, where their heart is not known, and so false conclusions are made?
How does understanding how God judges people help us as we deal with the people we meet every day?
What are some things you should be doing, that God has called you to do, but you have been stopped from doing?
The author points us to a verse in Proverbs 27:17. This part of Proverbs is a list of quick quips of wisdom. The wisdom of this verse is that one person makes another person a better version of themselves. Through love, correction and encouragement, we help each other become better versions of ourselves. We need to be intentional about having these people in our lives.
Proverbs compares this mutual improving of one another “as iron sharpens iron” Do some research. How does iron sharpen iron? What is the process? What does that mean for how we are to sharpen each other?
A wise teacher (sorry I don’t remember who it was) once taught me that we should always have three people in our lives: a Timothy, a Barnabas and a Priscilla and Aquila. Someone who is younger than you , who you are teaching and building up. Someone who is along side of you as an encourager, and someone (Paul had a couple, I love that) who is pouring into you, and teaching you.
Spend some time and list who these people would be in your life:
Priscilla and Aquila:
If you don’t have someone in a category, be intentional about developing relationships in these categories.
The author asks “Who do you have in your life that actually calls you out when you aren’t the best version of yourself? Who will stand in your way when you are going down a path you don’t need to walk down?”
Can you think of examples of these three roles in Iron Man’s life? What about Captain America? What about another person (or fictional character)?
(Tony Stark: Timothy = Spiderman; Barnabas= Black Widow, Tony’s wife & Captain America; Priscilla and Aquila= Ho Yinsen (Tony says “ Professor Ho Yinsen was the hero here. He distracted the guards to save me. You get it? He died saving me! A—A better man that I ever thought of being! My whole life.”)
As you consider the people in your life you have listed above, are these people doing that for you? Are you doing that for these people? Go back to your research of what it looks like for iron to sharpen iron and apply that to what the relationship could look like if we are doing that?
I love how the Bible is just blunt sometimes. Proverbs 12:1 says “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” Is there a time you can think of in your own life, where something was said maybe not with the best intentions, but you were able to use it to help you?
Hector, the author, points out that everything that happened in Steve’s (Captain America) life made him able to be “worthy” to be able to pick up Thor’s hammer.
There is a wonderful song I sing to myself from a CD by Randall Goodgame. The CD is called Slugs and Bugs 2 and the song is called “God makes messy things beautiful”. I think you get the gist of where the song is going.
“God makes messy things beautiful, when you put them in his hands, God makes messy things beautiful, like only he can.”
The chapter brings us to James 1:2-4
Why should you consider it joy to face trials? How is the testing of your faith a good thing?
What “work” does perseverance do in your life?
Can you think of some specific examples where perseverance did work in your life? What did it accomplish? What is the outcome?
Can you think of another example (book, movie) where perseverance did “work” in the life of a character which made him a “better” version of himself?
Read on to verse 5, it immediately talks about lacking wisdom. (just after saying perseverance will do its work so you are not lacking anything). What is the relationship between perseverance and wisdom?
How do you achieve lacked wisdom? How do you achieve maturity and completeness?
“We can all benefit from people who are willing to challenge us.” Hector Miray
Being challenged is hard, and mostly not fun. Challenging people is hard, and takes a kindness and deep wisdom. But we can all benefit from people who are willing to challenge us. The Holy Spirit too can challenge us, let us be open to the iron sharpening iron in our own lives.