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http://bible.com/116/ecc.10.10.nlt Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.

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When I look at how little wood I have chopped in my life, when I look at how little fruit I have to show, when I see how foolishly I have lived at times – it is easy for me to admit that my ax is much duller than I would like it to be.

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In fact, it has been laying out in the rain for so many decades,  not being used – as I focused more on chasing fun and forgot about the work at hand – that one might wonder if my axe could ever be sharpened again.

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Isn’t this true of our testimony? When others know our faults,  our mistakes, our failings in life, doesn’t that compromise their ability to trust in our testimony as true and real? Don’t those that we have hurt and lied to and treated unjustly have every reason to doubt in what we say when they look at the evidence of our li

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fe?

And if I were the one trying to sharpen this old,  dull axe on my own,  isn’t it clear that the same one who laid it down before would lay it down again? Isn’t it clear that the one that despised the disciple and hatred work before would run back to his old ways,  leaving the axe on the ground again?

Are there areas of our lives that we’ve tried for a while to sharpen and work on,  but that we keep laying down our work and returning to our old ways because our axe is too dull?

If we are trying to sharpen the axe on our own, if we are continuing to do the same things and hope for different outcomes,  how foolish is that?

We find wisdom in the fear of the Lord. Those aren’t my words, those are His. If need to emphasize it, “Wisdom is found in the fear of God”, thus says the

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Lord.

Are we listening to that?
Do we believe it?
Do we understand?

If we believe,  if we are seeking first the Kingdom of God, all these things will be add to us. Again,  His Word, not my words.

So our axe doesn’t get sharper automatically when we try to get back to the work at hand. No, that’s just chopping wood with a dull axe, and that is dangerous business. Our axe is sharpened by believing,  trusting,  fearing God, repenting, obeying,  and seeking His Kingdom – seeking His will instead o

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f our own.

And it doesn’t say knowing His will. It says seeking His Kingdom. That is because it is a repeated decision to put Him first. If we trust in our own knowledge and understanding,  we will fall into pride and be beating away on those trees with all of our own strength,  telling ourself that our axe is just fine,  but producing no clean cuts of wood.

So I seek wisdom each morning,  through study,  through prayer, and through examination and consideration. I can’t yet say that my axe is sharp, nor do I think we should ever believe that our axe needs no further sharpening. And I can’t yet say that I don’t still lay down my ace at times because I am not yet strong enough to carry this cross,  remembering Christ in every moment,  every thought,  word,  and deed.

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But I’m asking the Lord to be my strength. I’m seeking His wise guidance to lead me and sharpen me, and I’m learning from His Word, and from the Holy Spirit,  and from others who are also seeking His Kingdom. And I’m encouraged when I occasionally feel the axe cutting through a little easier. Because this axe is meant to tear down walls, to break chains, to destroy the prison walls of the enemy so that all might catch glimpse of

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freedom.

So let’s sharpen our axes,  friends.

Let’s get to work.