1 Thessalonians 3:3-4 - Tempered Steel
1 Thessalonians 3:3-4 "so that none of you should turn back because of these persecutions. You yourselves know that such persecutions are part of God's will for us. For while we were still with you, we told you ahead of time that we were going to be persecuted; and as you well know, that is exactly what happened." (TEV)
The process of tempering steel is a complex one when you look at the science behind it, but a quick glance at the process reveals that it is basically a way to reduce the hardness and brittleness of the steel which results in additional strength and toughness.
To accomplish this the steel is heated to about 400 degrees Celsius, which comes out to over 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit, and is kept there for a period of time. The steel is then cooled rapidly and again heated. This goes on a number of times until the desired strength is achieved.
This process has evolved over time, and the tempered steel has even been combined with other metals to produce stronger alloys that can stand even more stress before the metal fractures.
When I read tonight's scripture I saw a parallel between Paul's teaching to the Thessalonians and the process of tempering steel. Paul's instructions were intended to give that group of early Christians notice that they were headed into the forge of trial and persecution...that they needed to endure these trials to become stronger in their faith.
And, indeed, the scripture says that what Paul predicted happened as he said it would. In this translation this "tempering" process of faith is said to be "God's will for us."
The Lord never promised us the walk with Him would be easy. He let us know there may be many trials in our lives, but he also let us know He'd be there right beside us to mold us...........to either pull us from the trials we faced or give us the strength to endure them.
When I compare my trials in life to those of my brothers and sisters in the early Family............my challenges pale in comparison. And even though I was brought within a heartbeat of eternity............I was pulled back, I believe, because the tempering process was not finished with me..............nor the work the Lord assigned to me to do.
I don't welcome trials.........I would rather avoid them if I'm able. But if the Lord's there with me, I know I will have what's necessary to pull me through............for I'm being forged by Him to do His work..........and that is what I'm here for.
"He has shown me the path to life, and he makes me glad by being near me." (Acts 2:28 (CEV))
Love in Jesus,
"But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired." (1 Corinthians 12:18 NASB)
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
This devotional was originally posted on CCI-Devo - Daily Group Devotionals on December 21, 2003 in post #435. It was written by Jim Ross, a former United Pentecostal Church member, who attends Christian Challenge International, the sponsor of the devotional group. The devotional is the copyright of Jim Ross and is reprinted on this site by permission.
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August 23, 1997
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