Snow-covered mountains whizzed by. Carter couldn’t wait to get out of the car. This year his dad was going to let him chop down a Christmas tree. Not his family’s Christmas tree. Dad would chop down that one. But a neighbor had offered to pay Carter to bring him back a tree.
Dad guided the car off the highway and onto a dirt road. He pulled to a stop, got out, and grabbed two axes. Almost immediately, Carter found the perfect tree. Dad spotted another nice one close by. He handed his son an axe.
“Let’s see who can cut down his tree the fastest,” Carter said.
Carter ran to his tree and started to chop with fury. First, he removed some of the lower branches to get to the trunk.
Then he hacked with gusto. Every so often, Carter glanced at his dad, who was working at a steady pace. Carter even saw him take a break while cradling his axe.
He’s probably praying that he’ll beat me, Carter thought with a smile.
Moments later, Carter heard his dad’s tree crack and fall to the ground. Carter was less than halfway done.
“How did you beat me?” Carter yelled. “I didn’t even take a break.”
“You worked really hard,” Dad said, “but I took time to sharpen my blade.”
Exerting a lot of effort doesn’t always lead to an effective life for Christ. You need to make sure your blade is sharp. Ecclesiastes 10:10 says,
If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen its edge, then one must exert more strength; however, the advantage of wisdom is that it brings success.
So how can you be wise when it comes to living for Jesus?
One of the best ways is to find a friend who shares your beliefs. Do you know somebody who loves God and wants to grow in their relationship with Jesus? Maybe you could ask to be accountability partners. Meet regularly to find out what God is teaching you, pray for each other, and talk about problems and successes. If you can’t think of a good accountability partner, ask your mom, dad, or youth pastor. Proverbs 27:17 tells us it’s important to have somebody in our lives to make us sharper.
Our own individual efforts can only get us so far. Instead of working harder, we need to work smarter and find a friend who can help us grow closer to Christ.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17
Excerpted with permission from The Case for Christ for Kids 90-Day Devotional by Lee Strobel, copyright Zonderkidz, 2013.
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If you’re a parent who reads a family devotional or a children’s devotional with your kids, you know that those devotionals can speak as powerfully to adults as they do to kids! Who in your life is sharpening you? Who are you sharpening? Join the conversation on our blog! We would love to hear from you! ~Devotionals Daily