Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NIV) If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.
My life in Christ has proven to be anything but dull. It has been one wild ride after another. In my younger days, I was quite impetuous. I was willing to take chances. Early on, faith jumping brought great exhilaration to my otherwise less than spontaneous nature. Survival was my goal and learning to adapt well to my surroundings created a chameleon effect. I met Jesus at an early age but did not come to know Him until much later. One might image that when things went well to God be the glory and when things went less than opportunely, I wondered where the Lord was and why did He leave me? Jesus came to give us life abundantly. His Love is extravagant in nature. However, it is only in an intimate and ongoing relationship that such intimacy affords the luxury of His Amazing Love. I cannot think of any true loving relationship that does not require a sacrifice of some sort. Yet we approach the Lord expecting all He is for just some of us. This will never result in the life that is promised in God’s Word because it is only achieved when we truly connect to Jesus Christ – body, mind and spirit.
Life on the edge. We live on the verge of something greater each new day when we choose to take God’s Mercy and live in His Love. It is a choice. We are not forced into servitude but give our life freely. It is a love affair not a forced slavery. Yet, when we approach our relationship with Jesus based on the do’s and do not’s of His Word rather than responding to His Love, it feels like a burden rather than a blessing. I guess the real question is do I want His Hand or His Heart. Nevertheless approaching the Word of God this morning it was with the thought in mind that it seems the closer I get to the Lord, the more life seems like the ledge of a tall building and I am carefully navigating along the edge. I wonder if it is the same feeling Elijah felt after the wind, earthquake and fire when he stood at the mouth of the cave in response to the gentle whisper of His Beloved, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (I Kings 19:11-13)
I am not sure what you have experienced in your walk with Jesus but for me it has been far from dull. In fact, it seems like just about the time things quiet down a new adventure in this journey called life dawns. Though it looks like an ordinary life with ups and downs and all-arounds, it feels in my heart like an Indian Jones movie or Temple Run game. My heart beats wildly with expectation. New challenges for my faith await. My hope becomes heavier with new experience. The end usually produces complete and total weakness but when He whispers to me again, I cannot help but say, “Yes!” As a divorced mother of three young, vivacious children, I had decided that this would be the end of my brood. They were perfectly wonderful and thoroughly exhausting all at the same time. That is until I met my husband. Before we married and were dating, he asked me if I would consider having more children. Without hesitation, I said, “Yes!” Knowing in my heart that had not been my declaration, but face-to-face with my earthly beloved, I could not resist so three turned to five wonderful blessings. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is to be one of complete love and surrender like our favorite fairytale but rather than happily-ever-after, we live from everlasting to everlasting.
Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV) For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Our relationship with the Lord is more difficult and experiences opposition when it meets with hardness and callousness in our heart. Ecclesiastes 10:10 says that if the ax is dull and unsharpened, it requires more strength or effort. It goes on to say that skill will bring success. Skill is achieved through knowledge turned to wisdom and lots of practice. Our commitment to Jesus Christ is compared to engrafting. Grafting requires that each side be cut to make a connection for the graft to take hold. Jesus made the sacrifice on the Cross to establish this connection, it is up to us to satisfy our side of covenant. Covenant requires the letting of blood. We must respond with our heart before the Lord. His Word allows us to be cut to the heart. It circumcises us in our soul and spirit so we can become connected to Christ completely. This is referred to in Deuteronomy 10:16 and 30:6, as well as Jeremiah 4:4. God’s Word is the two-edge sword that penetrates us dividing soul and spirit. It is how we can daily move closer to the Lord.
Why is the Word of God essential to our life? To be labeled as “dull” means one that is slow to think or understand; lacking in interest; lacking in perception; and lack of ability to respond. All these characteristics are lethal to natural relationships so why not to our supernatural connection to Jesus? Love is a commitment. Lust is just about every other emotion humans call “love”. True love never fails. It is constant no matter what the others condition, circumstance or situation. There is no greater love than when one lays down their life for a friend. All of this is clearly defined in God’s Word. Why is it the most credible source? Well, Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. (John 1:14) In Revelation 1:12-16 when John sees Jesus, he refers to the words of his mouth as a “double-edged” sword. In Hosea 4:6, God warns us that people are destroyed by what? A lack of knowledge. We can gain the highest degree of education with all the merits of a scholar but if we do not truly know and love Jesus Christ everything else is worthless.
I Peter 1:5-7 (NLT) In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
My greatest desire is to “make every effort to respond to God’s Promises.” Everything that God created in me and for me comes to life in Jesus Christ. Every opportunity, advantage and prosperity is developed in my attempts to love Him more. As I move closer to Jesus, I rely less on myself which is a scary proposition. I usually press and press for the promise and just like Peter who looked at the wind and waves, my natural sight terrifies me just before it becomes a reality. Love requires a full investment if we desire a relationship. Faith is how we connect to Jesus Christ. It is our trust and dependency on the Lord that creates an urgency to move closer. The closer we get the more our heart exposes its desperate and overwhelming need for His Love, Grace and Mercy so hope begins to drag us deeper into the depths of His Love that is too wide, long, deep and high for us to every fully comprehend – all that we know is we are drowning in it and no longer wish to be saved because now we are fully invested and surrendered to this love affair with Christ. I just want to be where He is. I desire to do what He says so that I can move closer. I want to hear that still small whisper of His Words just for me. I want to please Him in all things more than anything or anyone else. It challenges me. It scares me sometimes this life on the edge of reality.
Mark 9:20-22 (NIV) Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, for she thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
Many years ago, a famous preacher was coming to our church. I respected this person greatly and highly anticipated their arrival. As part of the woman’s ministry of our church, I participated in the preparations and activities of the conference. I prayed and fasted leading up to the conference. I praised and worshiped the Lord because I knew what was coming that weekend. My desperation for the Lord pressed me deeper in the Word of God those preceding days and I was determined to get my blessing out of the three days. Friday night and Saturday morning there were three separate speakers who truly were a blessing but my heart was set on hearing from my favorite one. Arriving back on the church grounds, I literally had goosebumps. When praise and worship began, it was like Heaven or at least I thought so. In the quiet moments, just before the praise team stopped, in a room full of women worshiping and basking in His Presence I realized that what I came for I already had received. Before the one I highly anticipated breathed a word, I was completely in awe that the One I was truly after had already come.
Are you the woman with an issue today? Or maybe you feel plagued by many issues? Do you feel desperate for the Lord, but don’t know where to find Him? His Word is the best place to start. It is His Love Language just for you and me. We look for love in all the wrong places. Yet to open God’s Word and fully pursue Him will change our life in far better ways that just telling us what to do. It is to unlock the door to the Promises of God including His Plan and Purpose for our life. It is the place to find healing, deliverance and full satisfaction. It will break your heart. Cut you to your very soul in exchange for a beautiful love story with Your Beloved.
Life doesn’t have to be dull. You can live on the edge of impossible every day if your heart is up to the challenge. The woman was desperate for change and knew that if she could just touch the edge of his robe that she would be healed. When we turn our desperation over to the Lord, we can trust Him to do just what He promised. You don’t know what you are missing. This thing called faith is indeed a wild ride. Hope is to live the impossible on the edge of reality. There is never a dull moment when trusting God. It is so worth it. To know and live in the greatest love that I have ever known.
John 4:23-24 (NIV) But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”