Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NLT)
Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.
I am a firm believer in the motto, “Work smarter not harder.” We all should put forth our best effort as believers. We should definitely invest energy and time effectively into each and every task taken on in life as we work for the Lord and not man. But let’s face it, most people subscribe to the excuse “but we have always done it that way.” Apparently God also believes in the “work smarter not harder” philosophy. King Solomon describes just that in Ecclesiastes 10:10 – a dull ax requires great strength.
Have you ever tried to cut with a dull blade? I had a small paring knife that I picked up at the store one day for casual everyday use. When I bought it, it was inexpensive but super sharp. I loved the little knife using it for everything I could find because it was efficient in its task. At first, it cut through everything with great ease but over time it seemed harder and more difficult to use. While away with our son in the hospital, I bought another little paring knife to cut fruits and vegetables while residing in the hospital. The first time I used it, I was amazed at how quickly it went to work peeling, slicing and dicing. It was new and sharp. When I returned home, I was sure to bring it with me and it replaced the dull one that had been faithful in service. Its only problem is that it was no longer sharp.
As believers, we go through seasons of life that leave us dull. These are the times that following Christ seems to require more effort than it did before. We feel overwhelmed in all the changes as the Lord recreates and restores us. “A dull ax requires great strength.” Like an athlete after the elation of the latest win wears off must deal with the exhaustion and pain in their body from the valiant fight that delivered their victory. There is a reason why new mercies are left for us each day. (Lamentations 3:22-23) God knows. He understands how difficult the fight for our faith really is. God is a good father who provides for His Children. We must be smart enough to recognize the times when we have become dull and allow the Lord to sharpen us. The value of wisdom is that it makes you succeed. We want to prosper. We all want to thrive. We desire the blessings of God in our life and pursue every single one. When suddenly we realize that we have been overcome, and we feel dull and weak in walking. Worry may become our motivator rather than faith. Anxiety may drive us rather than grace. God invites us today to work smarter not harder and sharpen our blade.
Luke 21:33-36 (NLT)
Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”
The longer that we walk with Jesus the more evident it becomes when contrary thoughts fill our mind. This world is not our home but a very strong and powerful influence on how we live and what we do. Our hearts are quickly dulled by the things of this life and overwhelmed by all of its worries and cares. Think about it. The enemy knows this is it. There is no do over for him. It is his final hoorah and last go around. He is desperate to snatch, steal, kill and destroy as many of God’s Children as he can before his demise. He is ruthless. He is brutal. He is savage. All those violent things that are surfacing around the world are evidence of his attacks. Side note: The world now calls good and evil entertainment and most often tries to get the audience to embrace the violent offenders as victims. The line between such things becomes a soothing gray. Our hearts become dull to violence and accepting of such things. The Bible says that we must be alert at all times. The Truth is this – Heaven and earth will disappear, but MY WORDS will never disappear. We must spend more time on the things that are forever than all the temporary past times that fill our life. We become smarter by gaining spiritual wisdom and conversing with the Lord than we do investing all of our time and energy in this life.
Hebrews 5:11-12 (NLT)
There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.
If a church advertises that it is giving away a big screen television to one lucky person on any given Sunday, it will be a packed house standing room only. Even though week after week, the Word of God is offered for free to everyone who walks in the door. There is no value on the Word of God anymore until we “need” or “want” something than we pour through its pages to meet our need. What if I told you that the Lord wants to meet all of our needs and give us the desires of our heart? What would be your responses? EVERYTHING we need to succeed is written in the Word of God. Why do we flock to seminars when it is in our prayer closet? Unless we do not have a regular diet of the Word and a daily exercise of prayer. A true relationship with Jesus Christ where we feast on the Bread of Life, get watered by His Word and come to Him in prayer is the very thing that keeps us sharp and unyielding when the enemy comes with substitutions and compromises. Otherwise, we fall for his distractions every single time. Even worse, we have the audacity to blame the Lord for a lack of faithfulness on His Part when it was our faithlessness that kept us from His Best. The Word of God is absolutely completely positively essential for spiritual success which is wisdom and maturity in Jesus Christ. You cannot know God without knowing the Word because that is who He is.
Hebrews 6:9-12 (NLT)
Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.
Every single morning I sit down with the Word of God before me. There are days when I am hungry for what the Lord has for me, but there are also days that I arrive in obedience and not in longing. The important thing is that I come. Even on the days it seems pointless, I spend the time digging and reading. Though it may fall on deaf ears, it never misses my heart. God’s Word is a two-edged sword that does its work whether we help it along or not. Spiritual dullness and indifference affects many Christians. We attend church, pay our tithes, give offerings, take the needy a meal or two, pray before we eat, and get up tomorrow to do it all again. This is not the kind of relationship God wants from us. Love is not an obligation but a commitment. Forced love is not love at all. It is bondage. He wants us to pursue Him and walk with Him because we love Him, we want Him, and cannot live without Him. The more we know Jesus the more possible this becomes because we cannot help ourselves.
Hebrews 4:12-16 (NLT)
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
The Word of God is alive and powerful. Once God speaks it, it cannot return void and must do exactly what He says. Jesus is the Word of God wrapped in human flesh. He came and lived His Life as an example, then sacrificed it so you and I would have a second chance. What we do with this new life and newfound freedom is strictly up to us! To pretend to be a Christian, can still benefit your life because His Way is always good. If you follow the example of Christ even a little it will bless you. Sowing and reaping are Biblical principles that God applied to our natural life. When we follow the Word of God and His Way to the best of our ability and according to our own individual strength – we will succeed – it is inevitable. BUT wait there is more…when we give our heart, mind, body and soul to Jesus Christ as a believer that God’s Word is powerful and alive so we allow it to prevail in our life everything changes for the best. Personal success and achievement is NOTHING compared to what God will do in the life totally surrendered by faith and confident hope. The one who decides to totally submerse their life in His Word, His Will and His Way better watch out. Only those who are willing to be cut to the heart of the matter will be able to see the Goodness and Glory of God in their life. Jesus faced every test that we will. He experienced human weakness firsthand. He won the victory and handed it to us! We can come boldly now to God and live in His Presence but not as we are but who He allows us to be!
Ephesians 6:16-18 (NLT)
In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
As I ask the Lord to sharpen my blade again today, I realize that many days I have entered the battle of faith without any armor. I have the shield of faith and it seems to get hammered all the time. But what about the Sword of the Spirit that is the Word of God. Am I armed with my promise for that day, moment or need? Do I know what God says about every situation, problem or matter in my life? Those who do can pray in the Spirit because they know what God has already said and is doing for them. We must live alert. We must be persistent. Ignorance is not bliss and can actually kill you leading to death. We must learn as believers to grow in wisdom, knowledge and understanding when it comes to the Lord. Yes, sometimes it hurts as we see who we are compared to who God created us to be but that is the very thing that opens the door to change. Revelation leads us from Glory to Glory in our walk with the Lord. Discernment shows us the traps and pitfalls along the road ahead. There is more to life than this day, moment or breath. Let’s make the most out of each of them. As believers, we have been given the opportunity to succeed, prosper and thrive. If we are not doing so, it is time to cut to the heart of the matter and get down to business. We don’t need friends who enable us but rather must find that one who encourages us! (Proverbs 27:17) Work smarter today my friend, I certainly intend to!
James 1:5 (NLT)
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.