The file and the maker

A while back I caught a post on Wild Men of God that talked about the old verse “Iron Sharpens Iron”, and I really enjoyed it. It brought a lot of reality to mind. Then last week a whole bunch of dots got connected with the whole story of the potter and the wheel. Then today I was blessed with a devotion from AW Tozer that just added to the whole idea.

Here is the link to the Wild Men of God post

The idea that I am referring to is the idea that there is more to life than just our moments. That we have moments in life to build character in our life; to refine us. I reflect back and I can remember many instances where I learned and grew personally from some trials. Far more than any learnings I had when things went well and there were no difficulties.

The devotion was an excerpt from “The Root of Righteousness”. It was titled “The File and the Furnace”. The devotional is based on the scripture from Job 23:10

But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. – Job 23:10

The file is more painful still, for its business is to bite into the soft metal, scraping and eating away the edges till it has shaped the metal to its will. Yet the file has, in truth, no real will in the matter, but serves another master as the metal also does. It is the master and not the file that decides how much shall be eaten away, what shape the metal shall take and how long the painful filing shall continue. Let the metal accept the will of the master and it will not try to dictate when or how it shall be filed.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can sure relate to the metal being filed. I, at times, just want the master to hurry up and complete the work he has begun. Change is difficult and I don’t really like being in the midst of change. I guess that is because if I am in the midst of change, that also means I am not in control. Much like the metal being sharpened has no control over how much filing or shaping will last.

In our men’s bible study we have been studying Romans chapter 5 for a couple weeks now and of course the opening message is right in line with this theme.

3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. – Romans 5:3-5

See, I believe this theme of iron sharpens iron and the filing and sharpening has to do with verse three.  I know that I can rejoice in my sufferings, my trials and tribulations if I know that there is good to come from it. That there is hope on the other side.  That the trials are not just toruture or payback for wrong I have done, but actually benefiting me in the long run.

I know many times in the middle of challenges I have cried out in prayer, “Lord, let me learn this lesson, so I don’t have to endure it again!”. As I continue to mature and use my quite times more efficiently, I think a good thing to begin monitoring is the trials that I go through. Then when I do my periodic inventory I may be able to reflect and rejoice in the accomplishments he has done. I think we can agree that if we get some encouragement and we can see the benefits from persevering we can endure more.

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