Sharpening the Axe

19 10 2011

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

Is that how you would tackle the situation? Me either. My first reaction would be to panic about the size of the task. I would then measure the tree by my own strength and start chopping away. I don’t always stop and take time to sharpen my axe.

The length of time that it takes to chop down a tree is much more dependent on the sharpness of the axe blade than it is on my strength and know-how. Too many times, I look at a task and dive right in without preparing my heart for what lies ahead. I depend on my own abilities, my own judgment, and my own muscles to get the job done.

No good comes from striking out on my own. Sometimes the tree in my path is part of a forest that I cannot see around. The way is dark and the path is overgrown. It seems that blindly chopping away at the tree is better than doing nothing. Sometimes the tree is the regular routine of my day. I jump in thinking I can handle the ordinary, everyday stuff on my own.

I need to sharpen my axe. I need to spend time in prayer before trying to cut through the task that lies before me. I need to seek the counsel of the Almighty instead of relying on my own strength. I need to put on the armor of God and take up the sword of truth before facing the enemy. When a challenge comes my way, I need to see the value in sharpening my axe – allowing God to prepare me for what I am about to face.

My Jesus Resolution today is to sharpen my axe. I want to look at the tree differently. I want to see it as an opportunity to showcase the power of God and the grace of walking with Him. I want to slow down and invite God into the moment. I want to open my heart to the ways He wants to work in me and through me to help fell that tree. Today I am going to pray rather than panic, letting God use that time with Him to sharpen the axe.


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