The Finest Competition Axe is Useful Only When it Is Sharp
Shep Johnson
Sunday, November 6, 2016

Have you ever tried to chop down a large tree with an ax?  It’s not easy.  It requires strength, technique, and a sharp ax.  Lumberjack competitions allow men and women to test their skills with axes and saws.  The event which most closely resembles the actual chopping down of a tree is called the Standing Block Chop. 

In that event the lumberjack chops his way through a standing aspen log that is precisely 14 inches in diameter and 26 inches long using a five pound single bit ax [a single bit ax is one that is only sharpened on one side].  The log is held in a vertical position by a set of clamps.  The contestant begins on command and continues to chop until the log is completely severed.

The World Record for the Standing Block Chop event is held by Jason Wynyard of Auckland, New Zealand.  In 1998 Jason cut completely through a standing 14 inch aspen log in only 18.33 seconds.  It seems unimaginable that a 14 inch log could be severed in just over 18 seconds.  Just how is that possible?  Strength and skill are certainly important factors, but so is the sharpness of the ax.

In Ephesians 6:11-17 (NASB95) the Bible tells us, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Now if the word of God is the sword of the Spirit and our battle is against the spiritual forces of wickedness in high places, it is imperative that we keep our sword sharp and wield it with strength and skill.  So how do we do that?  How do we sharpen our sword to be like a razor’s edge?

·We read the Bible regularly.

·We approach the Bible with pen, highlighter, and paper in hand.

·We pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth.

·We study the Bible for comprehension and understanding by asking who, what, when, where, how, and why.

·We consult Bible dictionaries, study guides, cross references,

·language tools, atlases, commentaries, and other resources.

·We examine the historical context, the grammar, and the vocabulary.

·We seek out the “big picture.”

·We memorize key scriptural passages.

·We look for real life applications.

·And we put into daily practice what we have learned.

Jesus began His formal public ministry at the age of thirty.  Immediately following His baptism He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days of prayer and fasting.  During that time Satan challenged Jesus and came against Him with powerful temptations.  Yet Jesus was able to counter those temptations with the sharpened sword of God’s Word.  He was victorious over Satan because He had immersed Himself in the Scriptures for many years.  Like a seasoned lumberjack, Jesus wielded a sharp ax, a sharp sword. 

Remember that the finest competition ax is useful only when it is sharp.  You may have spent many dollars to buy a high quality Bible, but it won’t do you much good unless you keep it sharp.  Would you pray this week that God would sharpen His word in your own heart so that you would indeed “be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil”?

  Brother Shep