Theme: Sharpen It
Abraham Lincoln once wrote that if he had six hours to cut down a tree, he would spend the first four sharpening the axe.
In the life of a follower of Jesus we have trees to cut down. If you have ever tried to cut down a tree with a dull blade then you know how tiring it gets. And as Coach Lombardi said, "Fatigue makes a coward of us all." It is easy to give up.
However, if you have a sharp blade, it is encouraging when you start cutting down a tree. The wood is flying, you see progress, and soon the tree comes down. Then you have the satisfaction of accomplishing the job.
One is a picture of defeat, the other of victory. And the difference often comes down to a choice between sharpening the axe or not.
What tree do you need to cut down in life?
For the follower of Jesus, prayer is sharpening the axe. If we had six hours to do a job, would we spend four hours praying?
We all have a choice to make. It doesn’t matter where you started, or even where you’ve been with your prayer life. All that matters is two questions. Where do you want to go, and how hard are you willing to pray to get there. We have what we need. Everyone does. The separation comes down to who is willing to pray.
Never make excuses.
Pray first. Below is the first part of the prayer of Jabez.
I love this prayer. I pray this prayer.
It sharpens the axe.
Jabez begins his prayer by asking for blessing. We ask for more than we need so we can help others. In the scripture below James tells us we do not have because we do not ask. And some people ask for wrong motives. But if you genuinely want to help others and you ask God for more so you can, this gets His attention. Jabez prayed, “Oh, that You would bless me...” 1 Chronicles 4:10.
Scripture: James 4:2-3 (NIV)
“You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
“Father God, I pray that You would bless me with more than I need so that I can bless others. I pray for more provision, that You would equip me to give generously to others and meet their practical needs in Your Name. I ask You to give me greater spiritual gifting so that I can strengthen the church and be more effective for the Kingdom of God. I pray for an abundance of wisdom and discernment so that I can point others to You and make decisions that honor You. Help me keep Your generous blessings in perspective, so that I never become self-serving but stay focused on using what You’ve given me to serve other people.”