In a lumber camp not so far away, there was once a young lumberjack. One night he was talking with one of the older lumberjacks in the camp. He said, “I bet that I can chop down more trees than you can tomorrow.” The old timer agreed to the bet and early the next morning the young lumberjack started chopping trees down left and right. 8 hours in, he looked over his shoulder and saw the old man sitting. “This is going to be easy,” he said to himself, “the old man keeps taking breaks.”
The young lumberjack worked through the day without breaks. As the day went on, he glanced over his shoulder and every time he did the old-timer was taking a break. This really was going to be easy. By the end of the day the old man had beaten the young man by several board lengths. The young lumberjack was absolutely livid. “You cheated!” the young man accused, “I saw you! You were taking breaks!” “Son,” the old timer replied calmly, “I wasn’t taking breaks. I was sharpening my axe.”
There is a very good reason why the word of God is often compared to a blade. A blade must be maintained regularly in order for it to be useful. It is very easy for Christians (especially new converts) to be so full of zeal that they go out swinging their metaphorical axe around without keeping it razor sharp. There are few things more dangerous than a dull blade.
Without a sharp axe you cannot make a deep impact on the world around you. Often you have to work harder and use more muscle to use a dull axe, making it inefficient. Oftentimes a dull axe will glance off the log and potentially injure the user. It is useless and (literally) pointless.
It is even easier to make this mistake when you think your axe is sharp. You can believe in your heart that you are a good Christian. People may even tell you that you are a good Christian. But you cannot be a good Christian and believe what you are doing is sound without opening your Bible and studying for yourself. Ignorance is not bliss and it certainly is no excuse. “He who quarries stones is hurt by them, and he who splits logs is endangered by them. If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.” Ecclesiastes 10:9-10 ESV