Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 3:10
Sometimes a tree can be so unhealthy that the only hope for renewal is to chop it down. John, in the Matthew passage above, is proclaiming just such a message! For, as he envisions God’s Kingdom yet to come, he imagines the King as one who comes with an ax. Not for the purpose of destruction, but for the hope of restoration. John’s ministry is one of preparing God’s people for the new Kingdom era, which is to be proclaimed and embodied by Christ.
As such, he calls God’s people to get ready.
By ‘axing’ the things that bring death.
Because the prophet, John, has read the prophet Isaiah and he knows that a stump can produce a root that can grow stronger and more stable than the tree which it is replacing.
To get a stump, though, one must wield an ax.
As I enter this New Year, my prayer is that I will be able to identify – by God’s grace – what needs to be ‘axed’ in my life.
The question I am asking is “What things distract me from or distort my desires for God?”
Or, in John-like fashion, “What needs to be cut down (axed) in my life so that Christ’s presence might take control of my life?”
Here are some areas I am considering:
- Social Media?
Well, you get the picture. We all have areas in need of a quick, crisp, and clean axing!
From this orientation of seeking and surrender, I’ve developed a daily – even hourly – prayer that opens me to the pruning only the grace of Christ can provide.
Maybe this prayer can be yours as well.
Happy ‘Axing’ this New Year!
Praying My Way Into A Soul-full, Sacred, and Satisfying Way of Life.
As I enter this day, this hour, this moment, I confess that much of my soul remains untouched by you because my heart longs for affections other than you. So, touch the untouched places, O King, and saturate the holes deep in my heart with your inexhaustible and empowering grace!
As your presence empowers, may my awareness increase. I pray not for a general awareness, O King. I pray, rather, for an awareness of your presence with me. I pray that I might become attuned to the joy you take over me and the delight you have in me! As my heart attunes this joy and delight – this sacred song of your love – may I become more discerning regarding the input I see and information I entertain.
I invite you, this day, this hour, this moment, to ‘ax’ away all that distracts and distorts my deepest desire, which is to delight in the sacred, satisfying, and soul-full presence of Christ in my midst!
Disrupting to Renew!