The title of this message is (Preparation for Purpose). The Lord never wastes your time but will always take His time to prepare a vessel prior to usage. The greater the "CALL" the greater the preparation. You may notice the pictures I have inserted above, Blacksmiths preparing to make a sword and the finished product.
The process of making a sword is more than what you see in the movies. Sword making is an art and a craft which takes hard work. Specialized tools, such as hammers, forgers, anvils and years of practice to attain the skill needed to become a sword smith. God is the perfect Sword Smith! He takes His time with us.
There is a basic 6 step process to making a sword.
1. First step is "FORGING"
A bar of desired metals is heated in a forge and then it is hammered into shape. This hammering process can take a very long time and it is called "Drawing out the Sword". They begin in sections (usually 6" in length) and repeatedly hammered and heated until it comes into the desired shape. Many times this process is repeated and the sword is often heated then allowed to cool without hammering. This is required by the metal to keep the desired properties of strength and flexibility. Once this step is completed the sword is in proper shape but the properties of the metal are brittle and not very flexible. God allows us to go through the "FIRE" of purification and this will shape us into the image of His son; For whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:28. Also the scripture says; Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to yo but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 1 Peter4:12-13
God is "CONFORMING" us and "SHAPING" us into the image of Jesus His Son!
2. Second step is "ANNEALING"
Annealing is the process of softening the sword so the smith can "GRIND" it. The sword is heated and then allowed to cool very slowly and this process softens the metal to the point of easy grinding. God wants to smooth us out and make us PLIABLE . Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag, in a pouch which he had , and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine. 1Samuel 17:40
Notice how David chose (5) smooth stones out of the brook. Think about the years that it took for them to become smooth, the process of the water passing over them speaks of, that He might sanctify and cleanse her(Church) with the washing of water by the word. Ephesians 5:26 . The rubbing together of the stones as the water passed over the stones speaks of our relationships with our brothers and sisters in the church, As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17
3. Third step is "GRINDING"
Now it is ready for grinding. The blacksmith uses a grinder to work out the edge and point of the sword and some engraving is added. This is not the completed sword. It is still much to soft so it must be hardened. I believe at this point in our walk with the Lord we begin to see our specific calling in the Kingdom.He begins to point us and sharpen us and revelation comes for purpose. We must understand during this time that we must endure; You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ! 2 Timothy 2:3. Hardship is Kakopatheo in Greek and it means: To suffer hardship, troubles, to be afflicted. This is the time we stand fast and do not allow troubles and hardships to deter us. God uses "TROUBLES" to perfect us! Don't let the enemy fool you into thinking you did something wrong, God allows troubles to come for our purification and teaching us "PATIENCE"But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:4
Patience in the Greek means: Steadfastness, Constancy, Endurance. Perfect means: Full Grown, Full age, Mature
4. The fourth step is "HARDENING"
Now the sword is heated to a very high temperature and then placed into a quenching tank. This quenching allows the sword to cool quickly and evenly which will harden the metal. This speaks of; Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded . James 4:8
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways James1:8. God wants us evenly balanced and stable during tough times.
5. The fifth step is: "TEMPERING"
The blade is again heated and placed into a quenching tank. However it is at a lower temperature than was used at the hardening. This cycle is repeated many times and allows the blade to get very hard. At this point it takes an experienced sword smith with a trained eye and hand to understand the properties of the metal. It will have a certain amount of flexibility but will retain its sharp edge. The apostle Paul said; According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 1 Corinthians 3:10. God is a wise master builder and puts leaders in our lives to bless, encourage and point us in the right direction.
6. The sixth step is:"COMPLETION"
Now the blade itself is completed. The additional finishing parts include the Hilt which is the pommel, guard and grip. The sword is not complete without these parts or the finishing touch!
God always has the last word and say so in our lives and will always put the finishing touch upon us.
Being confident of this very thing , that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6