Sharpen Your Ax

Sharpen Your Ax, Increase Your Faith

I used to think I could pray for more faith. I was wrong.

Ecclesiastes 10:10 says,

“If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened,

more strength is needed,

but skill will bring success.”

In other words, the dull edge of the ax won’t prevent you from splitting wood, but because the tool needs sharpening, it requires more effort. With a dull blade, you will have to work even harder to chop that log.

Likewise, if we, as fighters, have some dull edges in our tool belts, we need to sharpen them. If not, we will need to work even harder to be successful at whatever we’re trying to do – whether it’s throw a particular combo or using the tools at our disposal to overcome a life situation.

This topic keeps coming up for me a lot this year, mostly concerning my spiritual life. God gives us so many tools to work with, but it takes time to learn how to use them properly. Sharpening and refining our spiritual tools is no different than sharpening an ax or training for a fight. It’s doing the footwork, bag work, ring work and road work on a consistent basis until you’re sharp.

A great example is learning to increase your faith, so that you have the confidence that when you pray, God will answer. I used to think I could pray for more faith, but I’ve since done the work to learn that this simply isn’t true. God will never give you more faith. He created us to have free will and equipped us with all the tools we need. But we have to sharpen our tools ourselves.

If I wanted more faith, I needed to do the proverbial road work, because faith comes one way: by hearing God’s Word. Over and over and over. It’s just like doing the same drill again and again until you know that you know that you KNOW that when you step into the ring for an actual fight, you’re confident that you CAN pull off the moves you’ve been practicing.

After all, nobody with any common sense steps into the ring just hoping s/he’ll do ok. Boxing is a dangerous and very serious sport. You have to be prepared with the training and the skillset and the confidence to get into the ring to fight. Even if you have the skills but you lack the confidence, you won’t win – and you may get hurt. Winning is a state of mind as much as it is a physical state.

If we understand this truth about boxing, we should surely also know that we have to do what it takes to train hard to increase our faith. Because without faith, we won’t receive from God. And that’s tragic, because God wants us to receive his infinite resources. Again, this requires faith.

There are many examples in the Bible that demonstrate that God requires our faith and trust in order to receive answers to our prayers, and to experience miracles. The best known and most obvious example is probably when Jesus walked on water, and He told his disciple Peter to come to him.

Matthew 14: 22-33 says,

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Peter does eventually learn he can walk on the water to meet Jesus, but he could only do it if he believed. Without faith, he was unable.

I could sit here and pray all day long but if I’m not 100% believing in the words coming out of my mouth, and there’s some nagging voice whispering things like, but will God really heal me….will He really answer me about this….then my prayers are pointless.

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

We must first believe. In order to believe and increase our faith, we have to read and hear the word of God – yes, every day. Every. Day. Reading God’s word is like doing your bag work and road work. It’s like sharpening your ax so that it’s always sharp when you need it.

And if you aren’t sure where to begin, I suggest starting with the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The Gospels are about Jesus’ time on Earth, and since Jesus is God’s word made flesh, and it is God’s word we need for faith, the Gospels are always the best starting point.

So go sharpen your ax! Oh, and do your road work, too. At the same time if you want. I’m sure there’s an app for that.

Leave a Reply