Whenever anyone completes the sharpening of a sword or knife, such a person does not just take the sword to battle, he continuously checks the sharpness of the tool until he felt satisfied that the tool is sharp enough for the intended purpose and during this testing, he checks the sharpness on himself (his flesh) first before anyone.
Now, you can remember several times when you finish sharpening a knife at home, the first test for the sharpness was on yourself, and several times when you realized it is still blunt you take it back to be for further sharpening until a slight effort can course a deep impact on the intended surface. The same principle applies to us as a believer today, ‘before you use the knife on others, use it on yourself first.
This principle applies to the revealed word of God through the scripture, the first action we must take on any scripture is first to cut ourselves with it, until we feel its sharpness on our life that it is sufficient to cut and penetrate us, never thinking it can penetrate anyone. Just the same way you will not take a knife for usage until you feel it is sharp enough to be used.
What do we do to the word of God today? Many times, we want to use it to cut others, and reveal God to them when the word itself has not found a place of expression in our life. Have you noticed what the Scriptures say in Hebrews?
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Heb. 4:12.
This means one side of the sword is for you and the other side for your listeners and as many people you are to impact whether as a minister, pastor, teacher etc. You must never use a knife on men that you have not used on yourself, the danger of such actions is that, you will never understand the potency of the sword, the principle of its release, the extent of its operations upon men and finally you will lack the faith to release it to action among men.
When God made a covenant with Abraham one of the first instructions was for him to circumcise himself first, even though it was a generational covenant.
“This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.” (Gen. 17: 10-11)
even though Abraham was 99 years old at that time, you can imagine the pain he will go through by the circumcision experience, but for him to understand the implication of that requirement, and be part of the covenant with its impact and values, he was requested by God to also circumcised himself first. Any scriptural instruction we get, in which we have not been a partaker of, may not have much impact on the people we are delivering it to, because it is from the mouth and not from the heart. Abraham was to establish the covenant and he must first cut himself even before touching anyone in the family. That word you want to preach is first for you before anyone therefore, cut yourself with it before it can cut the heart of other men.
Jesus our saviour had to cut himself with the agony of sin, by dying on the cross, He tasted the impact of sickness by taking the stripes for our healing, he went through all the phases to prove the efficacy of the cross, and he cuts himself on every side. It was after Jesus has cuts himself completely that he became qualified to cut others effectively with the word, hear what Phil. 2:10-11 says:
“ 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”(Phil. 2: 8-11)
Today, every kneel must bow to his name, because Jesus had cut himself first, with the crushing of the cross and the agony of its suffering. Therefore, it was after Jesus had cut himself that he was fit to cut others, it was after he has tasted and tested the impact of the effect of sin and conquered it, then he was fit to deliver us all from the danger and power of sin.
Today, we rarely want to cut ourselves, we think all the scriptures are to cut others, and we think only sinners repent, not knowing that every encounter we have with the word calls for repentance, changing from our previous ways. Any word that has not cut us cannot produce grace and effect on others.
The effect of what has cut you comes from your heart and soul but the effect of a word that has not cut you only comes out from your mouth.
How do we cut ourselves? Cutting is done with a knife and the effect most times brings tears and pain. The question is that how do we manage to live without tears today? Not a physical tear but a spiritual tear that occurs when God begin to cut us with His word. Maybe we are not cutting ourselves, we are only busy cutting others and because we have not gone through it, we do not feel their pain and cannot pass it on.
Can you make up your mind today that you will be patient with his surgical operations daily upon your soul, that you will release yourself to him for complete surgical experience before releasing you to cut others? Remember the word Peter preached in Acts 2:37(Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men, and brethren, what shall we do?), cut the heart of men but before that, the word had cut Peter himself through pain and teary experience of the suffering and resurrection of Christ and Jesus has made an imprint on his soul.
Will you cut yourself today before you cut others? Will you allow God to crush you under the impact of the same scripture you are taking to preach on Sunday? Will you allow God to have made an impact on your life on that word before feeding others? In that way, you will feed them from your heart and soul and not from your mouth. You will teach them from the scar of the impact of the hot iron of the word and not just showbiz. May the Lord help us to allow His word to cut us first before rushing to others.
©Author: Seun Oloruntoba Is one of the Co-ordinators of God Seekers Renewal Centre based in Lagos Nigeria