High Priorities (6)

The best steel is well-tempered steel.  Do you sharpen others?

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1 Peter 1:14-16 – As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:  But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;  Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

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(faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity [agape])

In the 18th century, the word “temperance” was used almost synonymously with the word “abstinence.”  What the word actually means is moderation, or self-control.  And since the word is much older than the 18th century, it would stand to reason that with the word we are examining actually arising from a Greek word having to do with mastery of a thing, and that includes personal appetite, should be considered in the more ancient of its forms that could date back as far as the times of Jesus.

One of the finest examples of the use of the word “temperance” is its use in the making of steel, and that would especially apply to the use of steel in the making of fine swords, or cutlery.  The steel that is used in fine cutlery, and especially in swords used in warfare, are tempered in a very special way.  My writing today is not to discuss the various means of tempering, such as that which may have been used by the Japanese in the making of fine katanas, but I will speak of the artistry and utilitarian function of well-tempered swords as it relates to the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and its connection to the temperance that should be produced as part of the fruit of the spirit in the life of a believer.  The fruit of temperance is directly connected to how a believer can walk in the arena of the Spirit, being always sharpened for the task at hand, and hardened or softened by a master sword maker so as not to be too flexible (easily bent or misshapen), nor to be too brittle and so easily broken by things that may oppose it.

When steel is made for a fine sword, there MUST be the proper blend of iron ore, carbon, fire, temperature, the forging of the hammer, the application of water (and in some cases, certain oils) for cooling, and timing for the proper curvature of the blade and its ability to hold an extremely sharp edge.  For the believer, that means a Holy Spirit-master blend of the Word of God, binding and tempering agents, the timely and properly applied fire of Holy Spirit, the use of the Master’s hand with the forging hammer in shaping, the application of the Word and Spirit together for the proper shaping and cooling of a life, and the leadership of Holy Ghost so that the elements of making a master-blade are done in proper order, placement, and blending.  This can only happen as an obedient vessel of God is truly yielded to the work, way, and wisdom of Holy Ghost.  Be that sword, my friend, tempered by the Master.

Manna for Today –  1 Peter 1:3-25; 2 Peter 1:3-15; Proverbs 27:17; Ephesians 6:10-18;             Galatians 5:22-25

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