There’s a television show I discovered recently called Forged in Fire. I don’t watch a whole lot of television, but while I was channel surfing, I discovered a bunch of big, burly, bearded dudes hammering away on some metal in a forge. This got my attention.
Let me give you a quick breakdown of how this television show typically works. The producers bring in established bladesmiths. These guys and gals already have a reputation for knowing how to create functional and sometimes beautiful blades. These bladesmiths are then asked to take a raw piece of steel and turn it into a weapon in a short period of time. Typically, the competition starts with three or four master metalworkers. These men and women are asked to create weapons in a very short time period. The judges of this television show evaluate the blades and the handles to determine which two weapons are the best examples of blades and handles created in this intense scrutiny.
The two bladesmiths are asked to create a weapon that would do the best during the toughness and sharpness test. Then they move on to the final round. In the final round of this 30-minute television show, bladesmiths are sent back to their homes to forge an iconic weapon from history. This is the part of the show that I am most interested in. I love watching these modern masters of metal create ancient weapons using modern techniques. Those weapons are then put through a series of tests. Here’s what the tests determine:
Must be tough
The first test generally determines the toughness of the blade. Oftentimes these blades are pounded against metal shields, bamboo trees, or animal bones. If you watch the reaction on the bladesmith’s face, the toughness test is brutal on the blade they just created. Basically, the judges are trying to determine if the blade can handle the stress of everyday use.
The judges are trying to determine if that blade is resilient. In other words, can that blade take a beating and remain functional? At this point in the show, any flaws in the blade will start to appear. Sometimes the judges will determine that the blade is so weak that it cannot be tested for fear that the blade will crack or fail.
Must be sharp
After this brutal toughness test, the judges typically will then move to a sharpness test. At this point the blade is used to cut through paper, rope, rubber, or a dozen water bottles.
These judges know their stuff. These guys have just subjected the blades to intense torture in the toughness test, only to see if the blade retained its edge in the sharpness test. Basically, the judges are trying to determine if this blade can do what it was intended to do– stab, rip, slice, etc.
Must look like the original
The judges give exact specifications on what this blade should look like. They give directions on the way the blade must function. In this part of the competition, the blade is not only being judged for toughness and sharpness, it is also being judged for its likeness to the original.
Only one blade can win the weekly challenge. Only one bladesmith receives the grand prize of becoming the Forged in Fire champion. That bladesmith receives a check for $10,000 for his weapon. The winner of this television show is almost always the smith who created a blade that most closely fits the original.
This blog is about your heart!
You may not care anything about knives and axes. You may have no desire to watch the show, Forged in Fire. I totally get that. This blog is actually not about a television show; it is also not about weapons. It’s about your heart! Did you know that following Jesus will do to your heart exactly what happens to these weapons in the television show, Forged and Fire?
Tough or tender
In 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 the Bible describes the heart of a man or woman following after Jesus. I’m convinced when this book was written, the author knew life is tough. The author of 1 Corinthians 3 understood that you’re going to get hurt by people. Sometimes that hurt goes really deep. The hurts of life can make your heart tough, or they can make your heart tender – the choice is up to you. Keep in mind that the strongest blades are forged in the hottest fire!
Silver or straw
What has your time and attention also has your heart. You can spend all of your energy and all of your focus on buying stuff or doing stuff that will not follow with you into eternity. 1 Corinthians 3:12 calls that stuff wood, hay, and straw. In other words, this stuff is all temporary. None of it lasts. Pursuing the things of God with all of your heart is like accumulating gold, silver, and precious stones. Those pursuits will pass through the forge of fire and last for eternity.
Shaped like the original
In the process of shaping and molding your heart, God is turning your heart into an exact replica of the original heart. He is molding your heart to look like Jesus’ heart! If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, your heart should beat like his heart. This is the foundation that you should build your life on. Building your life, or allowing your heart to pursue anything other than the heart of Jesus will ultimately let you down in the long run. If you want to be a 1 Corinthian’s kind of forged and fire champion with God, make sure your heart is looking more like Jesus’ heart today than it did yesterday.