In both the old and New Testament, God has done nothing worthwhile in human history without using man. Consequently, God calls individual, commission and empowered them to fulfill his plan for each generation. These individuals in use are God’s ready battle-axe. However, the level God will use and continue to use an individual will depend on the appointee’s readiness to play by the rule of the game.
Notwithstanding, God’ plan remains unchanged irrespective of the disposition of the assigned to the work. Instead of God changing His plan, He replaces the indolence and visionless servant.
What is a battle axe? And what is the purpose? Having known the physical axe and its purpose, let us look at the spiritual axe. Let us check the summary in this scripture. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:13-15.
Let us do a quick review of this scripture.
1. The word stand appears three times.
b.Put on the full and not a fraction of the armour.
c.The armour must be on before the day of evil.
d.The day of evil will come.
e.You are the one to put it on and not God.
f.You’re to remain to stand and not sitting, bending, or lying down.
g.Watch where you’re standing and not on a slippery floor. Stand firm.
h.No provision for the back. No retreat, no surrender.
There are three sections to every axe. These are the handle, the head, and the axe mouth. The best axe head is of no use without the handle. In addition, the finest handle has no effect without the head. With that said, the best combination of both handle and axe head without a sharp axe mouth will produce a frustrating result. Therefore, it takes a solid handle with a heavy axe head and a sharp axe mouth to produce a precision, timely, stress-free result. Therefore, God’s ready battle-axe will have the aforementioned qualities.
Let us break down God’s metaphorical battle axe into three
A: the handle (God, through the Holy Spirit). There is nothing an axe can do without the handle. The Christians are God’s ready battle-axe in His hand. Thus we can produce next to nothing without God. Therefore, it behooves on each believer to trust in the power of God through the Holy Spirit if we hope to achieve any meaningful result for God. Jesus himself said he can’t do anything without the father and that without him we can do but nothing. John 15:5, 5:19
Therefore, the unbroken and intimate fellowship with God will not only help our Christian walk with Him but also, make us an instrument in the hand of God to destroy the works of the devil and his cohorts.
B: the axe head (a believer or a minister). In each generation, there is always a vacancy to be filled by a willing human tool in the hand of God. Isaiah was ready and willing when God called.
Characteristics of God’s ready battle-axe.
1.They are ready to serve: God needed those who will serve not because of what they stand to gain. They will not serve to please men or for people’s applause. The right battle-axe recognizes it is a privilege and not a right to serve. These set of people place an eternal value on any action they take. To them, pleasing God is the ultimate. Ephesians 6:5-8.
2.They are committed: Genuine God’s ready battle-axe recognizes the concept of battles. They knew Christians are on a battlefield, whether they are ready or not. To them, once you are a Christian you are on the battlefield with the devil. Once you are born into the world, you should be ready to fight. So it is either you kill or get killed. Therefore, the rational thing to do is to be on the Lord’s side. With that, you’re sure of victory before the battle begins.
Half-hearted Christians are not a ready battle-axe in the hand of God. In fact, they make God sick. Believers who are not committed are a serious risk to the kingdom of God. We can see such an example in the army Gideon recruited. Is your outward service a true reflection of your inward commitment?
Let us see an example of commitment to the army of David 2 Samuel 23:13-17. These three soldiers heard the desire of their master and they supply the need at the peril of their lives. These men are incurably devoted to David. God needed believers with an equal or a better devotion than this. Can you stake your neck for God and His course?
3.They are tried and tested: This is a generation where people want to get something for nothing. Every axe head you see have gone through intense fire. You see the stars of champions through their scars. Therefore, for God to use you, you must have passed through trials and challenges of life without compromising your faith.
Everyone God or Jesus called both in the old and New Testament is people busy with one thing or the other. They are not lazy, but hard working. The ready battle-axe of God are people whose faithfulness, commitment passed God’s test. Examples are Moses, Elisha, Samuel, Joseph, Peter, Matthew, and Paul. The book of Hebrews 11 is the gallery of time and tested battle-axe of God.
4. They are available: If a person carries the anointing of Jesus and that of Paul together and he is not available then, he is not relevant in the kingdom of God. Alternatively, what is the use of a heavy and sharp axe if it is not available for use at the required time?
Mind you it is not your ability that God needed, but your ability. It is of note that the best axe cannot cut anything on its own, but depends on the handle and the handler. Isiah 6:1-8
B.The mouth of the axe. (believers’ preparation). I am not aware of any Biblical concepts or words that Christians have so bastardized than the words grace and faith. Christians talk about grace as a cheap commodity. It is as if you need not do anything to access the grace of God. In addition, after receiving the grace you just sit down and do nothing. I assume they believe once you have the grace that set the world around them on autopilot and that includes spoon-feeding them. Come on, friend! It doesn’t work that way.
God has endowed you with enormous resources to fulfill his purpose for his generation. Life and ministry will be a stress if you didn’t sharpen yourself. Do you notice any difference between Elisha and the rest students in the school of prophets? Have noticed a difference between Peter and Paul’s writings? That is what it means to sharpen the mouth of your axe. Note, the sharper the axe the more effective it becomes, the better the result and the less stress the handler exact.
What makes an axe sharp?
The onus is on the believer to develop his spiritual muscle to be relevant for a battle anytime. You need to sharpen your axe regularly after use. This is necessary because yesterday anointing is not enough for today’s service. Ecclesiastes 10:10. Ways to sharpen yourself.
1.The word of God. A good builder will follow the building plan. The bible is God’s blueprint for you and your generation. The word of God is useful for you as God’s ready battle-axe in more ways than one 2 Timothy 3:16. It shows you the mind of God. It renews your mind to receive fresh revelation for living and the ministry. More than that, it is a weapon to correct false teachings, guide you against error as well.
The word of God is also the arsenal to attack the devil. The devil, demons and evil people obey your bidding base on the word of God and not your grammar or oratory. Therefore, to be a sharp God’s ready battle-axe, you must read, study, meditate and live the word of God. Allow the word to refine you before you deliver it to others for their benefits.
2.Prayers and fasting. One prayer less week makes one weak. Prayer is used as both an offensive and a defensive weapon Mattew 17:20-21. I am not aware of any job as difficult and as dangerous as the ministry and prayer. The reasons are not far fetched as contained in Ephesians 6:12. You can read the exploit of our master Jesus in Mattew 14:23, Luke 5:15-16, 6:12, 9:18 Mark 1:35. No wonder the disciples covet the same spirit. So been God’s ready battle-axe leave you with no alternative than to pray. It is either you pray or you’ll become a prey.
3.Education. Both spiritual and academic educations are beneficial to sharpen your skill and your axe. This is necessary to dislodge the teachers of false teachings and their heresies. If you are not current, you will not be correct. Since our God and the world are dynamic, you cannot afford to remain conservative. If you become a relevant ready battle-axe, you must be current and trendy without compromising the standard of God.
4.Manage your health. Today stress is the number one killer of life and destiny. Regrettably, most Christians blamed this on witches and demons when it is ignorance that kills the most. Read the action of the master and learn a lesson about resting. A great man of God once said, “God gave me a message and a horse to deliver the message, but I killed the horse before I could deliver the message”. To him, the message is the gospel of Christ while his body is the horse. Mark 6:31, Exodus 20:8-10, Mark 4:38-40
Once you lose your health, then you’ve lost your ministry. Therefore, you need a healthy spirit to live in a healthy body. God gave us the Sabbath to rest so we could renew our strength for a better service. Most times, not that we are busy, but we are not organized. So manage your time well to include the time of rest. You’ve heard this before, “he who fights and run live to fight another day”. Jesus knew the importance of rest and he added that to his schedule. Mark6:31, Psalm 127:
5.Network with other people. Human beings are a social being. You can’t fulfill your personal or God’s plan for your generation in isolation. You need the right caliber of people. Jesus recruited the disciples for fellowship and to help him fulfill his ministry. Therefore, connect with people of like mind so you can share an idea with them and learn from them. Iron sharpens iron. Two are better than one. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, 2King 4:1-7
What makes the axe mouth dull?
1.Dull of hearing. People with dull hearing are no longer teachable. They are not willing to accept new ideas. Hebrews 5:11-14. When a Christian is not in tune with God’s latest agenda, he misses out on God’s plan for him and his generation. Eli was no longer on the same page with God so God moved to Samuel. Peter almost missed out on the plan of God for the Gentiles concerning Cornelius because he was conservative.
2.Self-satisfaction. A man falls and fails the period he feels he achieved the best for God than his peers. Elijah tauaght, he was the best available. He felt he was taking too much for God. However, God proved him wrong he had a substitute that could do the job. Moses felt he has been doing the entire job in his strength. He was getting burnout though he didn’t realize he was carrying the anointing of over seventy people. May I remind you; to every Elijah, there is an Elisha and to every Saul, there is always a David.
3.Lukewarmness. Any Christian can become a dull axe when he becomes complacent about his spiritual exercises. This spiritual exercise includes prayer, fasting, the word of God, evangelism, giving, and praises, etc. At that stage, you see such a Christian or leader not as fervent as before. He has lost his zeal for God. This is when he gives his spare time, energy and resources to God. Usually, these complacencies set in when we look at our achievement in life and ministry and we feel we have reached our zenith. Revelation 3:14-19
4. Making a negative comparison. 2 Corinthians 10:12. We have so many problems in the body of Christ today because we’ve joined the rat race. Your axe head will be dull if you want you to keep up with the Joneses. It is a false teaching that God wants every minister to build a mega-church. Nothing can be farther from the truth than that. You can aspire and covet for a good thing in life and ministry of others, but don’t be desperate to be like them. The toughest thing to be in life is to be like others and the easiest thing to be is to be you.
Friend, no matter how hard you try you can’t be like someone else. The best you could be is the imitation or a copy of the other person. There is only one you. When you measure your success with other people’s yardstick, you will derail from the plan of God for you and your generation and this will defeat your purpose in life.
5.Sin. Nothing sapped spiritual energy than sin. The sins could be disobedience, rebellion, laziness, or carnality. These sins bring dross on the mouth of our axe, we become rusty, and you know a rusty axe will not do a perfect job. Moses, Saul, Demas, and Judas lost out their function as the battle-axe of God because of little but important shortcomings 2Samuel 6:6-7, Numbers 20:7-12
6.Wrong companion. Some people made a shipwreck of their life and ministry because of the people they associated with. Amon had a glorious destiny, but his friendship with Jonadab truncated that dream. Rehoboam also lost the kingdom because of the companion he kept. Critics and rebels to God’s words and spiritual leader will make your axe rusted.
7.Modernization. Because of the proliferation of Churches, spiritual leaders began to lower the standard of the word of God. This is to accommodate many compromises. You can’t be a ready battle-axe for God if you want to go for the gospel of conveniences. When you water down the word of God so you can remain relevant and acceptable to the public it is a sign you are getting rusty.
How to maintain your sharpness as God’s ready battle-axe?
1.Repent of your shortcomings.
2.Return to your first love.
3. Be watchful.
4. Be in season and out of season in words and deeds.
The good news is God is ever ready to accept any genuine returnee for a renewed grace to become His ready battle-axe. However, the bad news is when you missed an opportunity you may not regain it. It is better to remain his relevant battle-axe than thinking of seeking a second chance. You may not live to tell the story.
Author: Joseph Akinrinola
Joseph Akinrinola is a Pastor, Sunday school management coach, author, blogger, and a motivational speaker.
Joseph created this blog to help young Christians establish their
feet in Christ, and to provide Biblical time-tested answers to life’s
questions about relationship, christian living and personal development.