Vol. 7, No. 39 – October 2, 2022

If you have been foolish in exalting yourself or if you have been devising evil, put your hand on your mouth. For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife. –Proverbs 30:32-33

Paul writes, in Romans, regarding the foolish hearts of sinners. Those hearts, writes Paul, are darkened. Actually, they smell.

Paul David Tripp writes in His book, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, a list describing the fool in the book of Proverbs. The list follows:

  • Convinced that they are right (12:15)
  • Quickly shows annoyance (12:16)
  • Hotheaded and reckless (14:16)
  • Spurns discipline and correction (15:5)
  • Wastes money (17:16)
  • Delights in airing their own opinions (18:2)
  • Quick to quarrel (20:3)
  • Scorns wisdom (23:9)
  • Wise in their own eyes (26:5)
  • Trusts in themselves (28:26)
  • Rages and scoffs; no peace around them (29:9)
  • Give full vent to their anger (29:11)

I do not know what you think; I also think that these fools smell. However, as I review the list I find some descriptives that are reminders of me—mostly past, sadly a few that are present-day, that I need to talk to the Lord about. Thus, I smell too. Do not laugh at me; you probably have some smell issues as well.

How much does it take for you to be annoyed? How big does the annoyance have to be?

Shortly after Donna and I married, we built a friendship with a couple from the church (they had several rug rats in their family). The problem they were experiencing was not a child problem, it was much smaller, but huge. They had fleas in their house. LOTS of them. Part of their basement was unfinished. Dirt. Not unusual for house construction of that era. But fleas were everywhere.

They were going to address the problem. So, they went out and bought flea bombs. Cans that you set off and the vapor would go through the whole house. Every nook and cranny. Worked well. They did have to depart their home for 48 hours.

Did you know that flea-bomb smell lingers for several days? You can almost smell the objectionable odor. My brain takes me back to that smell of 60 years ago.

The list that Tripp gives also carries a lingering smell. We do have to get rid of our foolish bombs and deal with the aftermath. There always seems to be left-over work to do. We cannot play the foolish person, seek God’s help to rid of the foolish fleas (smells). But we think that He is going to do it all. That we will have no responsibility afterward. But we do. Have responsibility.

That list of foolish activities has outcomes. Through Christ God reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Life Application

We are good at asking God why? We are good at asking God to repair our faulty character flaws. We take 1 John 1:9 as a relief. Just confess to God. Now you are free. Get on with life, until the next smell.

Confession leads God’s truth to bloom in our souls, that He cleanses us from all unrighteousness. He does. Then we smell like Old Spice (or whatever you ladies use).

But what about the ones we have harmed with our smell? God provides for that as well. He made us ministers of reconciliation. In the following verses of 2 Corinthians 5, Paul writes that we, because we are new creatures, we have the further ministry of ambassadorship.

What is that?

It is saying the same thing as the One who sent us with that ministry of reconciliation. That ministry does not happen by itself or is only God’s responsibility. It is not God who smells. It is us.

Now we need to let God’s fragrance overpower the hurt we have caused in our life or another life.

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

October 2, 2022

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