Recovering Your Cutting Edge
2 Kings 6:1-7
If the axe is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but wisdom brings success. - Ecclesiastes 10:10
(Discuss this verse shortly)
Every woodcutter knows that the most important part of cutting wood is first giving the axe a good and quality sharpening for the work to be easier done. They knew that THE TIME SPENT SHARPENING THE AX IS NOT WASTED TIME. If you have a dull axe or an axe with a wobbly head the time to chop wood will be miserable. But if you take time to sharpen the axe, it is so much easier to chop through the woods and it will ensure greater productivity.
The Axe represents the supernatural dimension of the Holy Spirit..our ability to have a cutting edge to pierce the darkness and penetrate the lives of those God has called us to reach and disciple and the things God has called us to build and to lead. It represents the power and wisdom of the Holy Ghost.
The Church was not birthed in a Bible School, it was birthed in a prayer movement.. in a group of people who were willing to lay down their lives to proclaim the truth of what they have witnessed and believed in. To a group of people who loves Jesus and are obedient to His call. A people who sought God and waited for His Presence to come and fill them up.. and when the power of God fell upon them they were baptised not just in water but with the power of the Holy Ghost and when they received the infilling of the Holy Spirit they became a sharp cutting edge that changed and impacted the community.
The modern-day Church still needs the power of the Holy Ghost. We need the wisdom of the Holy Ghost. We need the cutting edge sharpened all the more in this new season in our lives.
In this world, they say the older you get the duller you become, but in the Lord the older you get the sharper you should become. As our church ages forward, I pray that our cutting edge will not become dull but will only be sharper than it was or is now. Now if the axe is blunt, you need to sharpen it. Or if the axe head is lost, you have to recover it! There are many reasons why a cutting edge can go blunt or can get lost and I believe that there are many Christians today who are exactly feeling that way and God wants to restore what is lost. God wants to refresh what’s been worn down because of the battle that you have faced in this past season of your life.
15 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities.
16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
- Luke 5:15-16
JESUS Himself knew how to sharpen His cutting edge. There will always be a demand for ministry because there will always be a need but look at the rhythm and lifestyle of our Lord Jesus here. Though He was filled with compassion and saw the need He focused always on the precious time in hearing from the Father laying down His burdens to the Father and receiving strength, wisdom and direction from the Father.
32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37 and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” 39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
(What can we observe about JESUS in these 2 passages of Scripture?)
“ Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax. ”
- Abraham Lincoln
There is a sharpening that can only come out of time spent in the presence of God. There is divine enablement and effectiveness; a double portion anointing that can only come by consistently spending time with the Father. There is no other way you can get it. There is physical skill and talent; but spiritual sharpness comes when you are a dweller of God’s Presence. And when you are sharp in the Spirit, you are energised; there is joy; excitement; a passion. It comes from the place of prayer and worship … e.g. David in playing the harp - demons flee.
The Axe Head Floats
2 Kings 6:1-7
1 Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us. 2 Let us go to the Jordan and each of us get there a log, and let us make a place for us to dwell there.” And he answered, “Go.”
3 Then one of them said, “Be pleased to go with your servants.” And he answered, “I will go.” 4 So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. 5 But as one was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water, and he cried out, “Alas, my master! It was borrowed.”
6 Then the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it in there and made the iron float. 7 And he said, “Take it up.” So he reached out his hand and took it.
Why is this story in the Bible?
What was the contextual background of this story? Who is Elisha?
If we remember, the Double Portion of Anointing - the purpose and intention is to take care of the family; but also the goal is enlargement. God had always had His mission to reclaim and restore His Kingdom and the goal is ENLARGEMENT. Enlargement… in your life and in the ministry.
Sons of the Prophets (vv. 1-2)
In the time of Elijah, if we can remember, many of the prophets were killed by Jezebel. Most probably, these were orphaned sons of those prophets who laid their lives down because they honoured God. These are sons of a generation who have paid the price to carry the Word of God and fight for the proclamation of His Truth and His will to win a crooked nation and generation.. these sons escaped the sword of Jezebel and is now under the care and leadership/fathering of Elisha. These sons had a legacy that they can draw from and they have decided to continue the legacy
Everyone who is a Born-Again Christian is called to Sonship. As sons and daughters, we all have the potential to move in the manifestation of the Spiritual gifts for the purpose of building the House of God. WE CAN.. not all do.. but only those who desire so CAN.. you have to own it.. you have to desire it as the apostle Paul mentions. The right mindset of a 'son' should have a desire in the heart that cries out to God, "Lord USE ME!" The gifts of the Spirit are for serving the family and building up for God's Kingdom purposes.
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all - 1 Cor. 12:7
It's interesting that the Hebrew word "ben” meaning, "son" is from the root word “benah"; which means “to build the house”. If you are a son, it means you are called to build and in particular, to build your Father’s House. It’s not just a matter of serving or volunteering in a ministry for the sake of doing it. I pray that you will serve from a position and revelation of sonship.
The Lost Sons
Remember the 2 lost sons from the Parable of the Prodigal Son? Both of them were sons but both of them had a slave mentality. They served their Father not out of love but out of self-centeredness. Both of them also clearly do not know their Father personally or by heart.
18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’
29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends.
In contrast to the Sons of the Prophets:
These sons had a sense of OWNERSHIP. And when you have a sense of ownership, you will have INITIATIVE. There is passion in them for ENLARGEMENT. They had a desire for EXPANSION! Why? Because (1) They knew their IDENTITY (they are sons) (2) They carry a LEGACY (their fathers' mission and purpose) (3) They see the NEED (a nation in desperate need of God) (4) They understood their CALLING (to continue to proclaim the Word of God)
What difference does it make when we have a mindset and attitude as sons compared to having a slave-mentality?
The Lost Axe Head (vv. 3-7)
Even sons can lose their axe heads sometimes. The cutting edge can get lost even as we continue to serve the Father. The axe head is a prophetic picture of the power/anointing of the Holy Spirit and wisdom of God given to us. The wooden handle represents human effort. In the Kingdom of God, it is hard to get results without the axe head. The handle and the axe head is joined together by a wedge. It is what holds the axe head in place and is very small and seems insignificant but without it, the axe will be wobbly. For me it represents our PRAYER LIFE. It is the expression of the INTIMACY we have with the Father.. the most vital thing to keep the edge of the Holy Spirit in our life.
Paul had to remind Timothy not to neglect this wedge (1 Timothy 4:15; 2 Timothy 1:6) that holds the axe head and the handle together.
Here are Some Factors Why We Tend to Lose our Cutting Edge:
1. FEAR or INTIMIDATION
2. NEGLECT of Intimacy with God (Lack of prayer)
3. Disappointment or Frustration
4. Offence or Unforgiveness 5. Exhaustion, weariness, lack of balance in life.
6. Spiritual Warfare or Opposition or External Pressures
7. Unconfessed Sin or Compromise
Which of these can you relate the most?
In this story, we can trace steps into Recovering our Cutting Edge:
1. Admit that you lost it (v. 5)
“Alas! I lost the axe head is borrowed.. "
There was grief by the young prophet as soon as he lost the axe head… there is a sense of loss and the young prophet admitted the problem.
2. Cry Out! (v.5)
If there is a lack of joy.. a loss of gladness.. a lack of excitement…if a sense of peace is gone.. we need to cry out! Ask for help. Cry out to God! Speak with your mentor o pastor... Nothing's gonna change if you keep it to yourself.
3. Identify where you lost it (v.6)
What happened in your life that caused you to let go or neglect the fire of God in your heart? Which factors contributed to your loss of passion or effectiveness in serving the Father?
4. Come Back to the Cross (v.6)
The stick or wood symbolizes the cross of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament is filled with symbols like this. The Cross is the place where all things are restored. No matter how big or how small the reason is for losing your cutting edge, God wants you to recover it!
5. Stretch Out and Take It Up Again (v. 7)
Recovering your Cutting Edge takes responsibility and effort on our end. As the young prophet descended to the Jordan River (Jordan means to descend or to sink down), he stretched out his hand and grabbed the axe head again. We also, need to humble ourselves in the process, learn from our failures or mistakes and grab a hold of the grace and the promise of God once again. We serve the God of many chances. So Recover your Cutting Edge! Our Abba Father is waiting for you...