Romans 5:2-4 “…We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character and character produces hope…”

The forging of steel is neither pretty work nor easy work. It is dirty, sweltering, and is done at 3000+ degrees. The hammering, the fire, the pressure, and the inspection are all done in the pursuit of a product of enormous importance: high quality steel.

The most minor of imperfections may not show up for years, but if they exist the results can be catastrophic. The process for forging is designed to drive out such flaws—both visible and hidden—in order to end up with a substance that can withstand pressure, weight, and stress while performing the task only it can do.

I believe that no one wakes up in the morning with the idea of being mediocre. We want to make a difference. There is an innate desire put there by God, that what we do and what we are matters. We ask ourselves the question: can we leave a positive impact on the people who know us well, those whom we love?

Most character formation is deeply personal, and takes place out of the line of sight of others.  Unlike steel, though, the forming of a great individual is never complete. It isn’t cheap, it isn’t quick, and it is often accompanied by pain. It doesn’t have a start date or an end date. It is an ever-present struggle and process that must be repeated anew each day.

All men who you want to imitate walk with a limp. You can sense that they have been in the battle. They exhibit the evidence of scars in their life. There is a genuine humility and reverence that is carried in their eyes. They carry a sense of rugged respect for life.

The single most important muscle involved in this process is perseverance. It is a muscle that all great people have developed well. Perseverance keeps me on task when it’s not easy or when I’m all alone. Perseverance pulls me back out of bed to go and endure one more day, and allow one more blow from the hammer.

Where do we place ourselves on this spectrum? Are we pursuing our Almighty God who alone can give us that perseverance, that ability to be used greatly by Him? Are we storing up treasures in heaven? Do we have a passion to see an eternal legacy that elicits from our Savior, “Well done good and faithful servant?” I trust we are on that journey and we are progressing in that pursuit of His will every day.

[Adapted by an article by Steve Graves]