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The Influence of the Holy Spirit
Once upon a time there was a piece of iron, which was very strong and very hard. Many attempts had been made to break it, but all had failed.
“I’ll master it,” said the axe . . . and his blows fell heavily upon the piece of iron, but every blow only made the axe’s edge blunt, until it finally ceased to strike and gave up in frustration.
“Leave it to me,” said the saw . . . and it worked back and forth on the iron’s surface until its jagged teeth were all worn and broken. Then in despair, the saw quit trying and fell to the side.
“Ah!” said the hammer, “I knew you two wouldn’t succeed. I’ll show you how to do this!” But at the first fierce blow, off flew its head and the piece of iron remained just as before, proud and hard and unchanged.
“Shall I try?” asked the small soft flame. “Forget it,” everyone else said.
“What can you do? You’re too small and you have no strength.” But the small soft flame curled around the piece of iron, embraced it . . . and never left it until it melted under its warm irresistible influence.
There’s a sermon in there somewhere. The story suggests that God’s way is not the way of force, but of love. God’s way is not to break hearts but to melt them. Perhaps it means that our calling is to melt hearts … under the irresistible warmth of God’s gracious love and the gentle touch of His Holy Spirit.