Nowadays, life is so busy. At times, I envy the days I was younger and didn’t have the responsibilities that I have today. It was just simpler back then. No bills, no responsibility, no worries. But now life is different---great, but different. There’s so many things that fill up our day. In no particular order: family, school, work, friends, social media, ministry, and Designated Survivor (if you haven’t checked it out, do yourself a favor. It airs on ABC). All of these things are good, but often times what ends up happening is that we prioritize these things over our personal relationship with God. If you go back to the list I mentioned, I noted family, school, work, friends, social media, ministry, and Designated Survivor. The thing is this; there is one very important aspect to the life of a Christ follower that I left out: our relationship with God. Often times we substitute our relationship with God with ministry, when in reality, those are two separate things. We trick ourselves into believing that because we are doing ministry that we are growing and strengthening our relationship Him, but the truth is our relationship with God might be suffering. And when we allow ourselves to get to that point we lose our edge; we lose our effectiveness. 

To better illustrate this, I am reminded of a story: 

One man challenged another to an all-day wood chopping contest. The challenger worked very hard, stopping only for a brief lunch break. The other man had a leisurely lunch and took several breaks during the day. At the end of the day, the challenger was surprised and annoyed to find that the other fellow had chopped substantially more wood than he had. “I don’t get it,” he said. “Every time I checked, you were taking a rest, yet you chopped more wood than I did.” “But you didn’t notice,” said the winning woodsman, “I was sharpening my ax when I sat down to rest.” (Source unknown).

This man was able to win the competition because he would PAUSE to SHARPEN his ax. Translation: he never let his blade go dull. You can’t be effective with a dull blade. You’ll only grow tired because you are trying to do it with your own strength rather than relying on a sharpened blade to cut through the wood. The same thing applies to our lives. In order to be effective in ministry, have a successful marriage or whatever task we are working at, we need to continually be sharpening our relationship with God. If we do not, we will go through life without being able to be effective because we are relying on our own strength, chopping away with a dull blade. I have to wonder, is it possible that you are not being as effective as you can be in your life because your ax, your prayer life, is dull? I encourage you to PAUSE from the demands of life and SHARPEN/STRENGTHEN your relationship with God. 

By: Josue Holguin

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