Posted by: Brad Stanford | October 23, 2009

It Cuts Like A Knife

Well, as much as I would like to be buff, It will have to wait until I have enough time to actually do some wood choppin’. I bought a small pole saw today to take care of three needs:

  1. Chop high branches off the tree that’s scraping the metal carport roof, with that fingernails-on-the-chalkboard sound when the wind blows
  2. Take out the box shrubs/fly ghettos (real flies live with the cows) around my house
  3. Cut up the 1″ diameter branches for firewood.

Now, before you tell me how unmanly my little saw is, just know that I’ll be buying the bigger saw later. But my wife and kids are the ones doing much of the shrub-cutting work, so it had to be something that wouldn’t remove a leg in a moment of distraction. While the little electric saw is still dangerous, it’s only got a 10″ blade, so its easier to keep it in the right place, and it’s lighter. And quieter. And easier.

This also goes along with my new mindset out here: slower, step by step, one thing at a time. How often is the pressure on us to get it all done right now? Every day, for me! But there is a lot of life to be missed with misplaced focus. Is it my goal to acquire as much awe-inspiring yard equipment as fast as possible? Hardly. Does an electric saw help me do the next thing with this house and move my family in the right direction? Yes!

How often the pride of manliness or godliness, or some other -ness gets in the way of humbling ourselves and letting God lift us up! When God points out pride in my life, it cuts like a knife, but as it says in Proverbs 27:6, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Having my sins removed surgically leaves some residual pain. But I trust the great physician. He did not bring me this far to let me get tripped up by myself. When Jesus says in John 10:29, “My Father, who has given [my sheep] to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my fathers hand,” I consider my flesh man in the group containing “no one”. My old, sinful, fallen, shell of a man can not remove me from my Father’s hand.

Just as I look at my house and remove the shrubs where unwanted creatures live, God looks me over, and removes the things that are keeping me from living a full life in Him. He is making me a house worthy of His presence, free of the things that are not important, not joyful, and not loving. So each shrub that comes down is a physical reminder of what God is doing with me. And the little unmanly electric saw is a reminder that it’s not about my image, but the humility that is required in dying to self, that I might embrace life, and to the full. Pursuing any image other than that of Jesus is chasing after the wind.

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