A Divine Mystery: The Indwelling Spirit

An Ancient Insight

Centuries ago, some people came up with this insightful illustration into the mystery of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. I don’t know who to thank, but I find the analogy very powerful.

The Local Blacksmith

Fire in a blacksmith's forge, heating a piece of metal.In earlier times, people cooked all their food in the fireplace. They lit their homes at night with oil lamps and either traveled by foot or used a horse.

Each town, village or city had at least one blacksmith who created metal objects of all kinds; everything from nails, pans and door latches to shovels, horseshoes, plows, axes and musket balls.

The blacksmith would first put the iron in his fire, using bellows to increase the heat. When the metal glowed orange, he’d place it on his anvil and hammer or bend it into whatever shape he needed.

The Fire and Iron Analogy

Here’s the spiritual analogy:

A red-hot horseshoe, held on an anvil by tongs.The iron is in the fire, but the fire has also “entered into the iron” because the metal is glowing red-hot. Both the iron and the fire remain unique, yet one enters into the other.

What does this analogy mean?

Clearly, God is the fire and we are the iron. The Holy Spirit dwells in us, but we don’t blend together. Instead the divine and the human remain distinct from one another.

Scripture says our Savior lives within us too.

27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27 NIV)

A Final Insight from the Old Testament.

When King David started bringing the Ark to Jerusalem, it should have been carried by the priests, suspended between two poles. Instead, David transported it in a new ox cart. Bad idea! During the journey, the oxen stumbled and a man named Uzzah touched the Ark to steady it. He immediately dropped dead.

 10 The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God. (1 Chronicles 13:10 NIV)


A blacksmith shaping a spear point on an anvil.My understanding has always been that when Uzzah’s sin came in contact with God’s pure holiness, it killed him.

On the other side of the cross, this same holy God dwells inside us; and though I have sinned since I became a Christian, I’m alive and well.

Maybe asking Christ to forgive my sins and come into my heart wasn’t just about me saying a sincere, simple prayer of salvation.

Perhaps something miraculous occurred at that moment, changing me into a worthy container for the Holy One.

All images came from Pixabay.com.




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