Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rawhide, Steel, The Word and Jesus

One of the tools I use when I repair jewelry at The Karat Patch in Big Spring, Texas is a rawhide mallet, a hammer that’s head is made of very hard leather. The purpose of this hammer is to shape metal without leaving any significant marks. It's a great tool but it is almost useless without its partner tool, a steel mandrel. The steel mandrel is a tapered, round steel bar about 12 inches long. These two tools used together can straighten out rings that have been bent out of shape. When I slide the steel mandrel inside a bent ring I can see where the bend is, strike the ring at that point with the rawhide mallet and the ring becomes straight by taking the shape of the steel mandrel which is on the inside of the ring. The ring takes the shape of what is on its inside with some ‘persuasion’ from something on its outside. The ring is actually shaped from the inside out.

As Christians, sometimes we can feel like a ring that's bent out of shape. In fact, during that time that’s exactly how one might describe us, 'bent out of shape'. We need to be 'straightened out'. We get bent out of shape because of sin in our lives, disobedience to God. As Christians we have Jesus Christ living in us – the steel mandrel. And we have the rawhide mallet, God’s Word. It’s important that we experience God’s Word whether it’s in reading it or in hearing it. It’s what ‘persuades’ or pushes us into Jesus Christ so that we can be shaped like Him. Sometimes the Word of God hits us hard because we are really ‘bent’ in some area of our lives. Sometimes it’s a gentle tap that gets the job done. But whether it’s the hard hit or the gentle tap, just like a rawhide mallet God’s Word leaves no significant marks on our outside bruises or scars. Oh, there’s a change on our outside all right. It’s the affirmation that things are right on our inside. You see, it’s how things are on the INSIDE that determines how things are on the OUTSIDE (
Luke 6:45). When the inside of the ring is bent…so is the outside. Fix the inside and the outside follows suit.

If it were possible to have a steel mandrel inside of a ring all the time it would never get bent out of shape. It’s when we place our finger in the ring instead of the steel mandrel, and let things other than the rawhide mallet push against it, that the ring becomes bent out of shape. Likewise, it’s when we place ourselves into our heart instead of Jesus Christ, and let things other than God’s Word push against us, that we get bent out of shape. The challenge then is to keep Jesus Christ on the throne of our hearts and not ourselves and allow God’s Word to push us into Him (
2Timothy 3:16). By letting God’s Word continually persuade us and push us into Jesus Christ, we become more like Him. And others will notice that our outside is right when our inside is right, just like they notice when we are, or a ring is, bent out of shape.

Rawhide and Steel, The Word and Jesus…things that help keep valuable items ‘straightened out’.

NEXT POST: More About The Mallet