This last week, I had a great opportunity to be a part of a JV retreat for the single missionary guys. We met in Spain and stayed for free in a villa in Southern Spain near the town of Rota, where there is a U.S. Naval Base. During the time we visited the Rock of Gibraltar and even went on a ship across the Strait to Tangier in Morocco, Africa. This was my first time to Africa! In one day I was in 3 countries, 2 continents, and 2 major bodies of water (Atlantic and Mediterranean). This time was not just about traveling though, it was a time to get away and kind of defragment a little bit. We also had some amazing teaching by Josh Patty on the Forge, how to form and sharpen our swords (Life).
This was a refreshing, but also challenging time. Two major things popped out of the teaching time for me. One was about putting your sword in the fire. It is painful and hurts when God puts you in the kiln in your life. He does this to soften us in the area that we need to have shaped and changed. We learned that rather then succumbing to our natural response of fight or flight from pain, we need to hold steady endure the process and ask God what He is trying to soften in our life. The second major thing for me, is the fact that we often try to move too quickly from what God has taught us. In essence we cool our sword (the changes) too quickly, and it results in a brittle sword that breaks. We become ineffective, because our life has lost the strength it should have. Rather we need to go fully through the process of cooling the new shape, and even be willing to be put ourselves back in the fire if our life is still not in the right shape. It is a continual life process.