Dead Flies!

 (Part 1)

Since the dawn of history man has been on the hunt for wisdom. Last month we saw that the first step to wisdom is not to be a fool. All of us are not fools; but we do commit foolish things. Even the most brilliant of us have tinges of foolishness. Solomon put it poetically, “Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, and cause it to give off a foul odour; so does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honour” (Eccl 10:1). Perfume spreads its aroma all around. So does a man’s reputation. But a little folly in his life spreads bad smell surpassing the aroma of his wisdom. So much labour goes into the preparation of a perfume. But a silly dead fly cancels it all. Let’s see what the Bible has to tell us about “little follies” that can stink our testimony and rot our life. Let’s try our best to keep off these dead flies from our life.

The first dead fly that makes the air around anyone so fetid that it makes people gag is rejecting God’s Word. We can see that it leads to foolishness: “It shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.” What curse? “The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart. And you shall grope at noonday as a blind man gropes in darkness” (Dt 28:15,28,29).

At every step of the way if we are not careful to walk inside the marked path, we are sure to become bumbling fools at the most critical junctures of our life. This has happened to many God’s people. Nebuchadnezzar was God’s chosen vessel. That’s why God took Daniel to his court to interpret his dream. Nebuchadnezzar confessed, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings” (Dan 2:47). But very soon he became a flagrant sinner against God by making an idol of gold for people to worship. God was not ready to give up on him. Again He revealed Himself. Still he hardened his heart and God sent a dream to warn him. Yet his heart was lifted up. What was the result? He bcame like a beast. When he lifted his eyes to heaven his understanding returned to him. When he acknowledged God his reasoning power returned to him (Dan 4:33,34,36).

How wise Saul must have been to be God’s chosen king of Israel! But when he failed to obey a seemingly insignificant commandment, Samuel said, “You have done foolishly. You have not obeyed the commandment of the Lord your God” (1 Sam 13:13,14). Samuel tells him point blank that the Lord does not have as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices. See the sad end of a chosen king, “So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the Lord, because he did not keep the Word of the Lord, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance” (1 Chr 10:13). A little folly indeed, for which he paid a heavy price. A warning also to those who dabble in the occult or traffic with mediums.

It is not out of place to remind ourselves of our Lord’s teaching in the sermon on the mount: “Everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand” (Mt 7:26). Can words be more clear? Read the Bible word by word with an uncluttered and focused heart and don’t miss a detail. Wordless life in an empty-headed, empty-hearted life! Every time you open your Bible you gain wisdom.

Another dead fly that can putrefy our perfume is ignorance of God’s will. My oft repeated prayer is, “Lord, keep me from making big mistakes in life.” Some think it is difficult to know God’s will. But the Lord throws the ball in our court. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you” (Psa 32:8,9). The lesson for us does not need to be spelled out. He is ready to give us eye signs. But do we maintain eye contact with Him? If we hear God right and don’t obey that’s when we’d be fools.

There was a man called Balaam, supposed to be a wise man. He had difficulty knowing God’s will. God had to put the bit and the bridle to get him walk His way. (Were his eyes not looking at the profit?) Isn’t it humorous that his donkey was wiser than him? (Num 22:23). P e t e r, writing about him in his secondepistle states, “A dumb donkey restrained the madness of the prophet” (2:16). In other words, he became a moral dunce. Yes. The price that you pay to do God’s will is far less than the price you will have to pay not to do it.

In Ephesians we are admonished as follows, “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (5:17). Proceeding in life without knowing what the Lord would have us do is wasting a lot of time and energy. Each of us should pray like Paul, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” regularly. Then He will guide us as He guided Paul if we have a willing heart to do His will like him. Then we’ll be as sure-footed as mountain goats. Many of us do many good things that are not God’s will for us. If we weed them out, we will have enough energy and time to do what God really wants us to do. When you pull out the weeds the flower plants will flourish. Life is measured. Save every drop of time. We are not left with much time. Understand what God wants you to do with the rest of your life and pour yourself heart and soul into it than splashing through life with all limbs like an unlearned swimmer.

Paul prayed for his fruits that they may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (Col 1:9). Jesus taught us to pray to the Father that His will be done on earth (that we do His will here on earth) as it is in heaven. Prayer clears our mind to under-stand the heart of God. Paul admonished Timothy, “Consider what I say and may the Lord give you understanding in all things (2 Tim 2:7). We have to put together many factors, use our head and then look to the Lord for clarity.

Take for example the young girls of this generation. They all study and pray for a good job. It does not occur to them that being a housewife may be God’s will for them. Finding God’s will could be tricky if you are not open. Let God have the last word.

I want to quote Mr. Eugene H. Peterson in the MESSAGE, with which I have fallen in love, “One of the stubbornly enduring habits of the human race is on domes­ticating God. We are determined to tame Him. We figure out ways to harness God to our Projects. We try to reduce God to a size that conveniently fits out plans and ambitions and tastes. But our Scriptures are even more stubborn in telling us that we can’t do it. God cannot be fit into our plans, we must fit into His. God is not a tool or appliance or credit card.”

If you have missed God’s will and gone astray, you can always retrace your steps back to God. He shall make your life complete and give you a fresh start. The nights of crying your eyes out shall give way to days of laughter.

One dead fly that has blown up the lives of innumerable wise people and make their names stink to high heavens is adultery. It’s the day of playboys and playgirls. Sex scandals are international stench. The spirit of adultery is getting deadlier by the decade. Sexual sins were considered foolishness in Israel. Tamar was seduced by Amnon. When she knew his intention she said, “You would be like one of the fools in Israel” (2 Sam 13:13). She was no less a fool herself because she was his quarry who nibbled at the bait. She could have avoided the visit, gone with a friend or shouted for help. Young people should learn to take hold of the reins of their emotions. One wrong move can destroy your whole life and brand you a fool. Your life will leak out bit by bit.

Young people having dalliances with the married is everyday news now. I heard a joke. A girl asks her girlfriend if her lover was willing to marry her. She says, “Oh, yes, of course.” “Then why are you pro­crastinating your marriage? Do you have any problem?” she asks. “Oh, no, I am more than willing” she replies. “Then what’s the hitch?” she probes. Much to her bemusement, pat comes the answer, “His wife is not    willing.” It is sad these days, men and women need external control to keep their sexual appetite under restraint than exercise their self-control.

“Whoever commits adultery lacks understanding.” Why? Because it is a brainless act which destroys your soul and ruins your reputation. And because you have to face the fury of an angry spouse (Prov 6:32-35). When you struggle back to your senses, you will find yourself demoralized and dragging your tail. So stop frivolous spending of time, dawdling, amorous play and flirtation with the opposite sex. Do not keep temptation inside the house though he/she may be as precious as the right eye. Avoid social butterflies like poison.

One day Solomon was looking through his palace window observing simpletons. Among them was a young man devoid of understanding (Prov 7:7). He went out in the night thinking nobody saw him. But someone was watching him through a window. He lunged forward for his easy catch and—boom! became a target. Hers was only a secondary role. The married woman seduced him with bedroom eyes and honey tongue and soon he was tottering behind her. He went as a fool (v22). That’s the last we hear of him. One lustful look led David to break five of the ten command­ments says Rev. David Pawson. Promiscuous women shipwreck leaders. But often the fence eats the crop too! Beware crop, don’t be fooling around the opposite sex.

Sex predators are everywhere. So never let down your guard in the presence of known or unknown persons who try to get too familiar with you. Sexual urge is like a lion; you cannot walk him on a leash. Don’t cave in to pressure. Don’t even give an inch. Never allow an inappropriate touch and never indulge in casual sex. Never be afraid to approach a senior of the same sex if you need help and hold tight to God. Boys and girls, men and women need backbone these days. Nobody can threaten you into a relationship. You have the right to refuse. If you pick up sexual vibrations cut them off immediately. If fingers brush against you in a sexual way, give a cold stare and move away. If you have failed, it is never too late to come back to God and turn around your life. Living a holy life was much easier decades ago. Youth of this generation need to be wiser. Win every temptation and God will reward you lavishly in due time.

There are many fool saints who lead a double life trying to drink their porridge without wetting their filter moustache, throwing fuel on the already blazing anger of God. Don’t take your sides with them. They are going to face a terrible judgment. Of the man who leaves his wife and goes to another woman it is written, “He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray (Prov 5:23).

Some consider internet and cell phone affairs as permissible. Don’t deceive yourself. Flirtatious sms-ing will mess up your life. Until you leave your mobile in a common place for your consort also to use you are not unswervingly loyal. A fortune seeking girl friend cannot replace a faithful wife. Somewhere, someday you have to break unholy relationships. The earlier the break the less painful it is. It is not worth sacrificing your family for another woman or man—so much pain, so much heartache, so much gossip for a little bit of temporary selfish pleasure.

We have to escape the dead fly of blabber mouth too to preserve our aroma. “A foolish woman is clamorous; she is simple and knows nothing (Prov 9:13). Why does she know nothing? It’s because she wastes her time in talking rather than spending it fruitfully. The chapter starts with Wisdom calling the simple to forsake foolishness and live and go on in the way of understanding. But the foolish woman calls those who walk straight on their way and entices them to the depths of hell. “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul” (Prov 18:7). We can kill ourselves by our careless words. We need to be extremely careful about the way we talk, the words we use and the message we convey. Our words should revive people, not kill them. “We are born with our eyes closed and mouths open and we spend our whole lives trying to reverse that mistake of nature” said Dale Turner.

There are other areas where we need to govern our tongue. “Whoever spreads slander is a fool” (Prov 10:18). The slanderer thinks he is making someone a fool whereas he is making a fool of himself. Listening to slander itself is foolishness; passing it on is doubly foolish. Defamatory statements injurious to the reputation of others should not escape our mouth.

Another danger of indiscreet chatter is exposing our thoughts. “Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, but what is in the heart of fools is made known” (Prov 14:33). Thoughts should be allowed to mature and fruition before they spill out. Mary kept her thoughts to herself (Lk 2:19). It is an art to be learned.

Sometimes we hastily pour out words only to repent later. “Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Prov 29:20). “Think twice before you talk” is a good dictum. You need to call upon every bit of willpower you possess to zip your mouth. Take time to pray before giving your decisions. Cool down and calm yourself to put together all information before you give your answer. You can even ask for time instead of giving a lightning reply.

Avoid loose talk at all costs. You can be eloquent by what you do not say. “… neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor course jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks” (Eph 5:4). Watch your words, your jokes and comments. Avoid the riff-raff crowd who will drag you into their gossip. When you get together with friends be conscious of God’s reve­rential presence. Avoid watching dirty programs in TV that will plant filthy jokes in your mind.

Garrulousness itself is foolishness. “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Prov 10:19). Talk less, work more is a good principle. After talking at length about the evils of tongue in his epistle, James immediately follows it up with a talk on wisdom showing the relationship between both (Js 3). A pastor prayed: “Lord, make my preaching proficient; but stop me when I have said sufficient.”

Too many Christians are slaves to anger —a dead fly that makes people pinch their nose when they come near them. Anger is as old as Cain. It is often vented on undeserving targets like wives, husbands, children, neighbours or employees. It is shredding many homes. Anger is selfish­ness, pride, lack of self-control and immaturity. It is an animal raging within for release. “He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly” (Prov 14:29).

If blowing your top is bad, stewing silently is no better. Anger has harmful effects on the body. If we know how to express our anger in a healthy way, it can benefit us and others. “Whoever hides hatred has lying lips” (Prov 10:18). When there is a misunderstanding we can make two mistakes. One is to impulsively burst out, bad-mouthing people. The other is to hide our anger and cover it up with butter talk. Both do not help relationship. Ideally we should learn to express our feelings without hurting the other person. Instead of spilling out our words on other people we should spill it out to God so that we can calmly explain to the other person how hurt we are. Leaders who keep their emotions under control put others at ease. “A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calls for blows” (Prov 18:6).

When you feel like cracking open someone’s skull, withdraw yourself from the scene so you can get some breathing room. Give yourself enough time — hours or days or even months to cool down. Analyse the situation. Pray. Then decide upon your course of action. “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression” (Prov 19:11). Take it easy. Our grandeur is to forgive and forget. “Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools” (Eccl 7:9). Make a decision today. The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. “Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances” said Thomas Jefferson. As you practice the technique, your outbursts of anger will soon be just memories.

It is rightly said, “He who seeks wisdom is a wise man and he who thinks he has found wisdom is mad.” Let us acknowledge that there are dead flies in our lives that let out a bad stench spoiling our Aroma. Let’s clean up today!

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Dead Flies!

 (Part 1)

Since the dawn of history man has been on the hunt for wisdom. Last month we saw that the first step to wisdom is not to be a fool. All of us are not fools; but we do commit foolish things. Even the most brilliant of us have tinges of foolishness. Solomon put it poetically, “Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, and cause it to give off a foul odour; so does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honour” (Eccl 10:1). Perfume spreads its aroma all around. So does a man’s reputation. But a little folly in his life spreads bad smell surpassing the aroma of his wisdom. So much labour goes into the preparation of a perfume. But a silly dead fly cancels it all. Let’s see what the Bible has to tell us about “little follies” that can stink our testimony and rot our life. Let’s try our best to keep off these dead flies from our life.

The first dead fly that makes the air around anyone so fetid that it makes people gag is rejecting God’s Word. We can see that it leads to foolishness: “It shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.” What curse? “The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart. And you shall grope at noonday as a blind man gropes in darkness” (Dt 28:15,28,29).

At every step of the way if we are not careful to walk inside the marked path, we are sure to become bumbling fools at the most critical junctures of our life. This has happened to many God’s people. Nebuchadnezzar was God’s chosen vessel. That’s why God took Daniel to his court to interpret his dream. Nebuchadnezzar confessed, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings” (Dan 2:47). But very soon he became a flagrant sinner against God by making an idol of gold for people to worship. God was not ready to give up on him. Again He revealed Himself. Still he hardened his heart and God sent a dream to warn him. Yet his heart was lifted up. What was the result? He bcame like a beast. When he lifted his eyes to heaven his understanding returned to him. When he acknowledged God his reasoning power returned to him (Dan 4:33,34,36).

How wise Saul must have been to be God’s chosen king of Israel! But when he failed to obey a seemingly insignificant commandment, Samuel said, “You have done foolishly. You have not obeyed the commandment of the Lord your God” (1 Sam 13:13,14). Samuel tells him point blank that the Lord does not have as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices. See the sad end of a chosen king, “So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the Lord, because he did not keep the Word of the Lord, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance” (1 Chr 10:13). A little folly indeed, for which he paid a heavy price. A warning also to those who dabble in the occult or traffic with mediums.

It is not out of place to remind ourselves of our Lord’s teaching in the sermon on the mount: “Everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand” (Mt 7:26). Can words be more clear? Read the Bible word by word with an uncluttered and focused heart and don’t miss a detail. Wordless life in an empty-headed, empty-hearted life! Every time you open your Bible you gain wisdom.

Another dead fly that can putrefy our perfume is ignorance of God’s will. My oft repeated prayer is, “Lord, keep me from making big mistakes in life.” Some think it is difficult to know God’s will. But the Lord throws the ball in our court. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you” (Psa 32:8,9). The lesson for us does not need to be spelled out. He is ready to give us eye signs. But do we maintain eye contact with Him? If we hear God right and don’t obey that’s when we’d be fools.

There was a man called Balaam, supposed to be a wise man. He had difficulty knowing God’s will. God had to put the bit and the bridle to get him walk His way. (Were his eyes not looking at the profit?) Isn’t it humorous that his donkey was wiser than him? (Num 22:23). P e t e r, writing about him in his secondepistle states, “A dumb donkey restrained the madness of the prophet” (2:16). In other words, he became a moral dunce. Yes. The price that you pay to do God’s will is far less than the price you will have to pay not to do it.

In Ephesians we are admonished as follows, “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (5:17). Proceeding in life without knowing what the Lord would have us do is wasting a lot of time and energy. Each of us should pray like Paul, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” regularly. Then He will guide us as He guided Paul if we have a willing heart to do His will like him. Then we’ll be as sure-footed as mountain goats. Many of us do many good things that are not God’s will for us. If we weed them out, we will have enough energy and time to do what God really wants us to do. When you pull out the weeds the flower plants will flourish. Life is measured. Save every drop of time. We are not left with much time. Understand what God wants you to do with the rest of your life and pour yourself heart and soul into it than splashing through life with all limbs like an unlearned swimmer.

Paul prayed for his fruits that they may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (Col 1:9). Jesus taught us to pray to the Father that His will be done on earth (that we do His will here on earth) as it is in heaven. Prayer clears our mind to under-stand the heart of God. Paul admonished Timothy, “Consider what I say and may the Lord give you understanding in all things (2 Tim 2:7). We have to put together many factors, use our head and then look to the Lord for clarity.

Take for example the young girls of this generation. They all study and pray for a good job. It does not occur to them that being a housewife may be God’s will for them. Finding God’s will could be tricky if you are not open. Let God have the last word.

I want to quote Mr. Eugene H. Peterson in the MESSAGE, with which I have fallen in love, “One of the stubbornly enduring habits of the human race is on domes­ticating God. We are determined to tame Him. We figure out ways to harness God to our Projects. We try to reduce God to a size that conveniently fits out plans and ambitions and tastes. But our Scriptures are even more stubborn in telling us that we can’t do it. God cannot be fit into our plans, we must fit into His. God is not a tool or appliance or credit card.”

If you have missed God’s will and gone astray, you can always retrace your steps back to God. He shall make your life complete and give you a fresh start. The nights of crying your eyes out shall give way to days of laughter.

One dead fly that has blown up the lives of innumerable wise people and make their names stink to high heavens is adultery. It’s the day of playboys and playgirls. Sex scandals are international stench. The spirit of adultery is getting deadlier by the decade. Sexual sins were considered foolishness in Israel. Tamar was seduced by Amnon. When she knew his intention she said, “You would be like one of the fools in Israel” (2 Sam 13:13). She was no less a fool herself because she was his quarry who nibbled at the bait. She could have avoided the visit, gone with a friend or shouted for help. Young people should learn to take hold of the reins of their emotions. One wrong move can destroy your whole life and brand you a fool. Your life will leak out bit by bit.

Young people having dalliances with the married is everyday news now. I heard a joke. A girl asks her girlfriend if her lover was willing to marry her. She says, “Oh, yes, of course.” “Then why are you pro­crastinating your marriage? Do you have any problem?” she asks. “Oh, no, I am more than willing” she replies. “Then what’s the hitch?” she probes. Much to her bemusement, pat comes the answer, “His wife is not    willing.” It is sad these days, men and women need external control to keep their sexual appetite under restraint than exercise their self-control.

“Whoever commits adultery lacks understanding.” Why? Because it is a brainless act which destroys your soul and ruins your reputation. And because you have to face the fury of an angry spouse (Prov 6:32-35). When you struggle back to your senses, you will find yourself demoralized and dragging your tail. So stop frivolous spending of time, dawdling, amorous play and flirtation with the opposite sex. Do not keep temptation inside the house though he/she may be as precious as the right eye. Avoid social butterflies like poison.

One day Solomon was looking through his palace window observing simpletons. Among them was a young man devoid of understanding (Prov 7:7). He went out in the night thinking nobody saw him. But someone was watching him through a window. He lunged forward for his easy catch and—boom! became a target. Hers was only a secondary role. The married woman seduced him with bedroom eyes and honey tongue and soon he was tottering behind her. He went as a fool (v22). That’s the last we hear of him. One lustful look led David to break five of the ten command­ments says Rev. David Pawson. Promiscuous women shipwreck leaders. But often the fence eats the crop too! Beware crop, don’t be fooling around the opposite sex.

Sex predators are everywhere. So never let down your guard in the presence of known or unknown persons who try to get too familiar with you. Sexual urge is like a lion; you cannot walk him on a leash. Don’t cave in to pressure. Don’t even give an inch. Never allow an inappropriate touch and never indulge in casual sex. Never be afraid to approach a senior of the same sex if you need help and hold tight to God. Boys and girls, men and women need backbone these days. Nobody can threaten you into a relationship. You have the right to refuse. If you pick up sexual vibrations cut them off immediately. If fingers brush against you in a sexual way, give a cold stare and move away. If you have failed, it is never too late to come back to God and turn around your life. Living a holy life was much easier decades ago. Youth of this generation need to be wiser. Win every temptation and God will reward you lavishly in due time.

There are many fool saints who lead a double life trying to drink their porridge without wetting their filter moustache, throwing fuel on the already blazing anger of God. Don’t take your sides with them. They are going to face a terrible judgment. Of the man who leaves his wife and goes to another woman it is written, “He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray (Prov 5:23).

Some consider internet and cell phone affairs as permissible. Don’t deceive yourself. Flirtatious sms-ing will mess up your life. Until you leave your mobile in a common place for your consort also to use you are not unswervingly loyal. A fortune seeking girl friend cannot replace a faithful wife. Somewhere, someday you have to break unholy relationships. The earlier the break the less painful it is. It is not worth sacrificing your family for another woman or man—so much pain, so much heartache, so much gossip for a little bit of temporary selfish pleasure.

We have to escape the dead fly of blabber mouth too to preserve our aroma. “A foolish woman is clamorous; she is simple and knows nothing (Prov 9:13). Why does she know nothing? It’s because she wastes her time in talking rather than spending it fruitfully. The chapter starts with Wisdom calling the simple to forsake foolishness and live and go on in the way of understanding. But the foolish woman calls those who walk straight on their way and entices them to the depths of hell. “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul” (Prov 18:7). We can kill ourselves by our careless words. We need to be extremely careful about the way we talk, the words we use and the message we convey. Our words should revive people, not kill them. “We are born with our eyes closed and mouths open and we spend our whole lives trying to reverse that mistake of nature” said Dale Turner.

There are other areas where we need to govern our tongue. “Whoever spreads slander is a fool” (Prov 10:18). The slanderer thinks he is making someone a fool whereas he is making a fool of himself. Listening to slander itself is foolishness; passing it on is doubly foolish. Defamatory statements injurious to the reputation of others should not escape our mouth.

Another danger of indiscreet chatter is exposing our thoughts. “Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, but what is in the heart of fools is made known” (Prov 14:33). Thoughts should be allowed to mature and fruition before they spill out. Mary kept her thoughts to herself (Lk 2:19). It is an art to be learned.

Sometimes we hastily pour out words only to repent later. “Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Prov 29:20). “Think twice before you talk” is a good dictum. You need to call upon every bit of willpower you possess to zip your mouth. Take time to pray before giving your decisions. Cool down and calm yourself to put together all information before you give your answer. You can even ask for time instead of giving a lightning reply.

Avoid loose talk at all costs. You can be eloquent by what you do not say. “… neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor course jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks” (Eph 5:4). Watch your words, your jokes and comments. Avoid the riff-raff crowd who will drag you into their gossip. When you get together with friends be conscious of God’s reve­rential presence. Avoid watching dirty programs in TV that will plant filthy jokes in your mind.

Garrulousness itself is foolishness. “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Prov 10:19). Talk less, work more is a good principle. After talking at length about the evils of tongue in his epistle, James immediately follows it up with a talk on wisdom showing the relationship between both (Js 3). A pastor prayed: “Lord, make my preaching proficient; but stop me when I have said sufficient.”

Too many Christians are slaves to anger —a dead fly that makes people pinch their nose when they come near them. Anger is as old as Cain. It is often vented on undeserving targets like wives, husbands, children, neighbours or employees. It is shredding many homes. Anger is selfish­ness, pride, lack of self-control and immaturity. It is an animal raging within for release. “He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly” (Prov 14:29).

If blowing your top is bad, stewing silently is no better. Anger has harmful effects on the body. If we know how to express our anger in a healthy way, it can benefit us and others. “Whoever hides hatred has lying lips” (Prov 10:18). When there is a misunderstanding we can make two mistakes. One is to impulsively burst out, bad-mouthing people. The other is to hide our anger and cover it up with butter talk. Both do not help relationship. Ideally we should learn to express our feelings without hurting the other person. Instead of spilling out our words on other people we should spill it out to God so that we can calmly explain to the other person how hurt we are. Leaders who keep their emotions under control put others at ease. “A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calls for blows” (Prov 18:6).

When you feel like cracking open someone’s skull, withdraw yourself from the scene so you can get some breathing room. Give yourself enough time — hours or days or even months to cool down. Analyse the situation. Pray. Then decide upon your course of action. “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression” (Prov 19:11). Take it easy. Our grandeur is to forgive and forget. “Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools” (Eccl 7:9). Make a decision today. The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. “Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances” said Thomas Jefferson. As you practice the technique, your outbursts of anger will soon be just memories.

It is rightly said, “He who seeks wisdom is a wise man and he who thinks he has found wisdom is mad.” Let us acknowledge that there are dead flies in our lives that let out a bad stench spoiling our Aroma. Let’s clean up today!

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