This past weekend, while studying for my Life Group lesson, a verse really got my attention, Ecclesiastes 10:10, “If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.” A brief story will make this verse come alive, “A lumberjack man said, ‘I don’t understand. I’m working even harder than before but cutting less timber.’ The supervisor asked the lumberjack how often he sharpened his ax. He replied, “I have too many trees to cut — I don’t have time to sharpen my ax.” It is essential for a lumberjack to keep his ax sharp. If not, he can do a whole lot of work expending tons of energy and still be ineffective. Why? His ax is not sharp.
I believe that the majority of believers daily go out into the world without their ax being sharp. A Christ follower can work his tail off in the energy of the flesh giving an all-out effort and will still be ineffective. Why? Our flesh cannot produce the things of God.
- Zechariah 4:6 states clearly, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”
- Ephesians 2:8&9 are clear, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
- Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
We sharpen our ax when we learn to walk by faith in His grace. Our life is a continual walk with the Lord being present and active in our lives. It is “not by our might nor power,” it is the Spirit of the Lord who lives and loves through us.
In addition, Hebrews 4:12 states that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” The Word of God is so sharp that it divides the soul (mind, emotion, and will) and spirit. Man without the Spirit is dead. God’s Word makes the spiritual part of man come alive to the point of helping us understand “the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Your ax will be dull until the Word of God comes alive and is allowed to stay active within you.
Keep your Ax sharp!