Strike While The Iron Is Hot

I recall about fifty years ago visiting a manufacturing company with two fellow co-workers, where they made nuts and bolts and also chains.

The place was kind of grungy, with dirt floors and poor lighting, and I was somewhat fascinated by the chain maker and went to look at the process for making chains. He was a short rotund man with beads of sweat on his brow. He was standing before a furnace with an opening about twelve by twenty four inches. It had hot coals on the bottom where he was placing links of chain, not yet formed into completed links.

The links were made and shaped out of rods depending on the size of the link, and they had a gap in them. The purpose for the gap was so that when the link was properly heated up, the chain maker could hook it to the existing length of chain he was making and perform the required procedure.

He examined the links in the hot coals till they had the right brightness of glow.  Then he removed them with a metal tong and placed them on the chain that was already completed. He put it in a jig, and struck it with a hammer. This caused the gap to close and the metal to be fused at that point.

If you look at a chain which has been made this way, you will notice midway a part that has a small lip and is a bit bigger than the rest of the chain. That part has been totally fused by the impact of the hammer and the correct temperature of the metal. The molecules are fused together so that there is no difference in the strength of the link where it is fused with any other part of the link. The molecular structure is the same–they are one.

Interestingly, if the link is too hot or if the chain maker strikes too hard with the hammer, the link would flatten and would have to be cut off. If it was too cold, it would not fuse, and it would separate under stress of use. The chain maker knows by experience just when to take the link out of the hot coals and just how hard to strike to make a perfect link, properly fused with the correct strength.

I want to compare this to baptism, or to a person seeking to be baptized. When God’s Holy Spirit is working with such a person, it is like the link in the coals. They are getting hot, but there is a gap there. Before baptism, there is a gap between the mind of God and the human mind.

During the baptism process, placing the person under water is like placing the hot link in the chain. The laying on of hands is akin to the striking of the hammer to initiate the fusion of the link.

Once we receive God’s Spirit, we begin to have a fusion of the minds. Our minds will become more and more like the mind of God the Father and Jesus Christ. The gap will slowly disappear and we will become one with God and Christ (John 17:20-23), which adds more meaning to what Paul said in Philippians 2:5: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”

It will become more and more a complete mind meld, which will enable us to develop a closer relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ.

A potential candidate for baptism must evaluate him- or herself, and must determine, with the aid of ministerial counseling, when is the best time to proceed with the baptism, since as the saying goes, “Timing is everything.” It is important not to procrastinate unnecessarily or delay baptism, once one is truly ready and practical conditions for a baptism exist. At the same time, it is also important not to rush into baptism, before one is truly ready. Baptism is a life-long commitment, which cannot be reversed.

Once we have the mind of Christ in us, we can better understand God’s Word and spiritual things, and we will appreciate more Peter’s admonition “to arm yourselves also with the same mind,” even in respect to suffering (1 Peter 4:1). Without the Spirit of God in us, it is impossible to accomplish this.

This example of the chain maker can also be applied to other areas in our lives that require some planning and forethought, but it is crucial to bear in mind that when we are ready, we must make decisions quickly and “strike while the iron is hot.”

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