Getting Your Sharp Edge Back On

Saturday, September 24, 2011 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Getting Your Sharp Edge Back On
by Bryan Hudson, Th.B., B.S., M.S.

“If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but wisdom produces success.” Ecclesiastes 10:10

Since a dull ax requires great strength, sharpen the blade. That's the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed. Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NLT)

If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success. Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NIV)

We are living in a season where Christian ministry is going fourth at every turn. In the midst of all of our activity and abundance, we still see a wilderness full of lost souls, broken lives and misplaced sheep. We see believers who feel tired, but they don’t know why. Many people are living out of balance, they experience…

•            Goals without grace
•            Stress without relief
•            Zeal without balance
•            Work without play
•            Producing without partaking
•            Relationship without reciprocity
•            Battles without hope
•            Forces without faces
•            Need without supply
•            Introspection without direction
(List from message by Charles Simpson)

Like an ax that has lost its sharp edge requires many strikes to cut what a sharpened ax can cut in a few strikes, dullness requires more energy, more strength. It is not that you may lack strength. It is this: The strength you have is limited in duration. 

The solution to the problem with the dull ax is not only found in sharpening it. The solution is also found in exercising wisdom in how we use our “edge.”

For an ax, it’s all about the cutting edge. The handle and shape of the whole ax is designed to make the best use of the edge. Solomon lived long enough, had experience enough success and enough failures to be able to distill life down to simple statements of reality. How many of you know that Solomon was not talking about axes and lumberjacks? How many know that he was talking about his life and life in general.

“Wisdom brings success.” Sharp edges become dull through use. We need wisdom to understand what it means to “sharpen the edge.” The NIV suggests that “skill” is needed for sharpening or knowing how to use the edge.

From a knife sharpening guide: “Maintaining Your Edge”
A properly maintained knife is sharp. A dull knife can be dangerous because you will apply much more pressure than you would with a sharp knife and your hand will be much more likely to slip.

 A honing tool will realign the edge and also bring to the surface the carbon molecules that provide most of the cutting action. Frequent honing is essential and will keep your knife cutting like new for months.
 Use your honing stool virtually every time you use your knives. 

A.   We need insight on spiritual diligence and preparedness. We need to be sharpened and honed through wisdom.

1.    Without that insight, we find ourselves living with a sense of drudgery rather than with sense of adventure and purpose.

a.   One cannot imagine that a chef would enjoy his work as much if he used dull knives everyday.
b.   The best athletes don’t try to get ready to compete just before the event. Boxes train intensely for weeks to be ready for a single fight.

2.    The apostle Paul likened us to soldiers in 2 Tim. 2:3-5.
      You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.  And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

3.      We should think about how key words inspire our attention and action.

a.    Ax – The instrument of service; our lifestyle
b.    Edge – The cutting edge— the action edge; What we actually do in the Kingdom of God; our gifts and unique contribution to  God’s purpose
c.    Wisdom - Ability to make proper choices and reach proper conclusions and decisions; Shrewdly aware and subtly resourceful; Using the proper means and procedures in attaining an end; Knowing how to restore and maintain your edge.
d.   Sharpen: Raise the level of your skill and effectiveness

B.   Wisdom provides skill and sharpness in many ways. Paul imparted these principles to Timothy:
      1 Tim. 4:6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. 7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach,[a] because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 These things command and teach.12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit,[b] in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Sharpening Stones:
1.     Be a doer of the Word because slothfulness produces decay (Eccl. 10:18)
2.     Prayer: Individual, corporate
3.     Worship; John 4:23
4.     Fellowship: Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 John 2:7
5.     Preparation: 2 Tim. 2:15, 1 Cor. 14:12
6.     Accountability: Heb. 13:7, 17
7.     Faith: 2 Cor. 5:7 (“He who observes the wind shall not sow...” Pr. 11:4)
8.     Teaching & Training: Sunday School, Bible Study, Firm Foundation Institute, etc.