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Seven Mistakes that Poison the Meaningfulness of Your Connections with God and Others

As discussed earlier this week, apothecaries or perfumers were people of wealth, honor, and influence in many ancient cultures because of their product’s value. Their sweet-smelling perfumes provided their civilizations, especially in Middle Eastern culture (where water was in short supply), the ability to mask unpleasant body odors. The apothecaries even belonged to notable guilds and sold their perfumes at special bazaars where they made their highly sought after products available. (1)

These apothecaries and their unique perfumes and ointments were in such demand that they often serviced entire regions, traveling from marketplace to marketplace. Obviously, in this period, transportation was a lot different than it is today. It wasn’t easy to get from one place to the next, especially when traveling with a precious product. So maneuvering from one marketplace to another, sometimes on a mass scale, was an arduous journey: wagons, camels, donkeys, oxen, and very rough terrain made for a genuine struggle. During the travel with these valuable fragrances, there was also a battle to protect the product from insects as dead flies could get into the perfumes and ruin them. Especially notorious were “flies of death” that carried bacteria from dead carcasses into society. The bacteria and poison within their systems were dangerous if the fly bit a person, but it could contaminate sweet-smelling perfumes, causing a horrible stench.

This experience bears weight with us spiritually as it can be our story. The journey of life can take a toll on us. We start on fire for God, so excited about being an authentic Jesus-follower! We want a holy life, a righteous life, we strive to obey the Word of God, but as we walk out step after step, the little flies start to creep in – sinful follies start to break the seals – and before we know it, our heart and soul are poisoned.

Solomon called these little follies “dead flies” in Ecclesiastes 10:1, “Dead flies make the perfumer's ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.”

Do you have flies of death – sinful follies – poisoning your heart and soul?

Scripture tells us that there are some specific follies that we must watch out for in our lives. And in context, I believe the Bible implies that these things bring a stench to God’s nostrils:


And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done. -Gen. 34:7 KJV


And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel. -Joshua 7:15


A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man promotes folly. -Proverbs 14:29


The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools deceives them. -Proverbs 14:8


I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives. I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. -Ecclesiastes 2:3-4


Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. -Ecclesiastes 3:8-9


To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; 14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place. 15 For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ… -2 Corinthians 2:10, 14

These follies can tip the scale against our wisdom! They outweigh otherwise decisions in your life and diminish the value of your reputation. Worse yet, they just stink spiritually – to God and those who know you best.

I asked you if you had any follies poisoning your heart and soul. Because the truth is that, just like everyone deals with flies in the natural, everyone deals with spiritual flies. Only through daily repentance can we find the suitable repellant and overcome our perpetual hurts, habits, and hang ups.

Allow the Holy Spirit to examine your heart. Get your hands clean, heart pure, and your mind renewed through God's grace. Because to become a light within the darkness, you’ll need to identify and remove the dead flies. So, with God’s help, get the stench out of your life, and let Heaven restore your sweet-smelling savor!

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1) Cambridge Bible for Schools & Colleges


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