Sermon Illustrations

It is the Japanese who have created the best swords in the world. To create these fine weapons, ancient Japanese sword makers had to create a sword that was hard enough to retain a sharp edge, but at the same time soft enough not to be brittle. Sword makers who made swords by making the steel hard found they could preserve a sharp edge. Such swords, however, were often so brittle that they would often break when they clashed in battle. Soft steel, however, was found to be not as brittle, but would easily dull and be unable to slice through armor. Japanese sword makers therefore had to forge a sword with steel hard enough to retain a sharp edge, but at the same time pliable enough not to break in battle. What Japanese sword makers learned to do was to create a sword made of hard and soft steel. Multiple sheets of hard and soft steel are heated, folded and pummeled together over and over again. Japanese swords go through a lengthy forging process until they have up to 33,000 paper-thin laminations of hard and soft metal. Each of these layers is one hundred thousandth of an inch thick. This is all done to a very precise recipe of temperature treatment. The end result is a finely crafted weapon with extreme pliability and a blade that will retain a finely honed edge. Just as Japanese sword makers repeatedly hammer together layers of metal to produce a sword that will be strong enough to withstand breaking, so God allows trials to hammer metal into the lives of His children. Just a sword made of hard metal will easily break in battle, so the believer filled with pride will also break in adversity. It is in the forging hand of God that humility and dependence on Him are developed into our lives to create character that will triumph in adversity. The hard steel in our lives is the word of God. The soft steel in our lives is humility and a dependence on God. These are forged together in our lives through fiery trials and prayer to produce vessels that will give Him glory. We need the hard steel confidence of what we believe together with the soft steel of humility.

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