The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Is it of God?

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God;
because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1


How do we determine if something is of God or not? This is an important question because we are in a spiritual war in which our adversary the devil is a master liar, deceiver and destroyer. The apostle John was inspired to warn his readers to “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). He wrote this in love.


The Last Days will be characterized by “deceiving spirits,” “doctrines of demons,” and lies spoken by psychopathic hypocrites (1 Timothy 4:1-2). Satan’s aim is to murder you spiritually and physically (John 8:44). His main tactic is appearing as something good and luring people into evil. Therefore, if we ignore or take this question lightly we risk being victimized by the enemy or worse, being manipulated into a position where we give the enemies of the Lord reason to blaspheme God (2 Samuel 12:14). Because of this God has given us clear precautions in His word to help us discern what is of Him and what is not of Him.


There are many scriptures in the Bible which help us discern whether or not something is of the Lord. Below we list these scriptures with questions we ought to be asking when we are seeking to discern whether or not something is of the Lord.


Is it scriptural? Just because someone uses scriptures does not mean they are of the Lord? Satan used scriptures (out of context) against Jesus in the wilderness temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). Cults use scriptures, as do false teachers. How can we know if scripture is being used in the right way?


We need to see if the interpretation is correct based on the context, or the way it was used in the letter or book in which it is found. Usually you can determine this by reading before and after the scripture to see the proper interpretation of the verses. You may have to read the entire letter or book in which the verses are found. You should also ask whether or not the interpretation in question contradicts other parts of the Bible. God’s word does not contradict itself. We need to determine God’s truth based on the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).


Does it bring me closer to God? You should ask if this use of scripture or thing in question is drawing you closer to or pushing you further away from God. The Bible tells us to draw near to God and move away from the devil (James 4:7-8). This is a question that can be tricky because our hearts are deceitful and we can’t know them on our own (Jeremiah 17:9-10). We need to ask God to search our hearts and see the truth in us (Psalm 139:23-24). And the way we do this is to bring our hearts and thoughts prayerfully to the altar of God’s word (Hebrews 4:12).


There is an interesting scripture in this regard and it states,   “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst” (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).


Notice it is not the sign or wonder or impressiveness of something that determines whether or not it is of God. It is whether or not something draws us closer to God and moves us to love Him more and more that determines whether or not something is of God. Jesus said eternal life is to know the One true God and Him (John 17:3). That in a nutshell is the prime reason Jesus came to be with us (John 17:4). We should be asking, “Is what I’m doing bringing me closer to the Lord? Is it making me more spiritually sensitive to His voice? Is it helping me to know Him better? Can I see Jesus involved with what I’m doing?”


Is it causing me to worship the Lord? God is looking for true worshipers who will worship Him in spirit and truth. Those who are trying to determine if the music they listen to is of God should be asking themselves, “Is this causing me to love God more? Is it causing me to worship the Lord in spirit and truth?”(John 4:23-24). Does the music put me in awe of the Lord and cause me to fall at His feet in worship?


Does it bring pleasure to God? Contrary to the popular philosophy of the day, we do not exist for our own pleasure. Humanity was created for the Lord and His pleasure! (Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11 KJV). Christians have been purchased by God and redeemed from their sin by the precious blood of Jesus on the cross (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Christians should especially be asking questions like, “Is what I’m doing pleasing to God? Is it selfish? Does it risk displeasing God in some way?”


Is it really worth it? Is what I’m doing really worth the time? If I’m being tempted to do something that is questionable, is it worth risking my walk with the Lord in any way? Nothing is worth risking a single drop of closeness to the Lord.  Greg Laurie once shared some questions we could ask to help us make good sound spiritual decisions. When you come to something that is questionable or really in any situation you should ask yourself five evaluative questions. First, “Will it build me up spiritually?” We have great freedom in Christ, but we should use our freedom judiciously and wisely to assure what we do is edifying. It’s very easy to get entangled in things that will fuel the flesh rather than support the spirit (1 Corinthians 10:23; Galatians 5:13; Hebrews 12:1-2).


Second, we should ask, “Will it bring me under its power?” We have to guard against indulging things that will bring us into slavery. Jesus said he who sins is a slave to sin and that the truth of His word can free us (John 8:31-36). Again, are the things you do lead to sins’ dominion in your life? It should not be so! (1 Corinthians 6:12; Romans 6:14).


Third, “Do I have an uneasy feeling about it?” Whatever is not from faith is sin (Romans 14:23). We have an anointing from the Spirit to help us in discerning truth from falsehood (1 John 2:27). If you have an uneasy feeling about something or someone, it just may be the Spirit warning you.


Fourth, “Will it cause someone else to stumble?” We should always hold a person’s spiritual welfare as a top priority. We should be others oriented. We should restrict our own freedoms for the eternal welfare of others. This is what love is all about (Romans 14:15; 15:1).


Fifth and lastly, “Will it bring glory to God?” This is the bottom line and most important question to ask. Can you say that what you intend to do brings glory to the Lord? Would you be embarrassed to bring Him with you where you are thinking of going? Would you be embarrassed and ashamed if He were to return and find you doing what you are doing? (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17,23).

Satan is a brilliant enemy who is the master of deception. He disguises himself as something good when he is really the worst of the worst. Those he uses practice the same deception (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Satan does not usually try to sidetrack or victimize people with what is blatantly bad. No. His tactic is to rob people of God’s best by tempting them with what is second best. Unfortunately too many Christians have passed up God’s best because they were impatient and settled for something good, but not God’s best. The choice is not necessarily between good and bad as much as it is between God’s best and an alternative.  That tactic is as old as the Garden of Eden, but it is no less effective today (Genesis 3).  So beware, pray to the Lord and ask Him for help to discern. Go to God’s word and let His peace be your guide (Colossians 3:15-16). But above all, care whether or not something is or is not of God.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

“But Satan hindered us”

Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us”

 – 1 Thessalonians 2:18


This verse communicated to the Thessalonians reveals we have an adversary who is hell bent on separating brethren from each other and thwarting God’s plans. We should never forget we have an adversary. He was behind the persecution in Thessalonica that led to Paul’s being sent away for his own safety (Acts 17:10). Satan incites opposition to the cause of Christ. Those who have yet to surrender to Jesus are described as the instruments of the devil. They are “dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others” (Eph. 2:1-3). If you have yet to receive Jesus as Savior, whether your realize it or not, you are under the influence of Satan!


Paul says, “but Satan hindered us.” The term “hindered” (ἐγκόπτω ĕgkŏptō, eng-kop´-to) means to impede, to detain, or prevented. Satan can hinder and prevent our plans from coming to pass. He can impede our path. How does Satan impede our path? What are his tactics?  Looking back at Acts 17 where Paul was separated from the Thessalonians in the first place, we see what many of his tactics are.


First he often works through the religious who aren’t persuaded by the gospel of grace (Acts 17:5a). If you read through Gospels and Acts it is usually those who are the most religious who are the source of opposition to the gospel. Salvation frees us from the “aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,” through the “precious blood of Christ” (cf. 1 Peter 1:18-19). Jesus didn’t come to make us religious. He came to introduce us to the way of knowing God personally as Savior and Lord. He came to introduce Himself to us. “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You sent” (John 17:3).


Second, Satan uses envy (ζηλόω zēlŏō, dzay-lŏ´-o or ζηλεύω zēlĕuō dzay-loo´-o[1]) covetousness or jealousy mixed with emotion to stir up opposition. Envy is at the root of much evil perpetrated against people. People like the limelight. When Paul preached the gospel in the power of the Spirit and people began to respond, the powerless religious leaders were jealous. Watch out for those whose motivation for “ministry” is getting people to their group rather than getting people to God for His glory. When you see that know that Satan is at work. When people are more concerned with and preach the name of their church or group instead of the Name above all names, the enemy is at work. Watch that.


Third, he works through “evil” men (πονηρός pŏnērŏs, pon-ay-ros´) or people. This is a very descriptive word which speaks of those who are characterized by being hurtful, evil, degenerate, calamitous, spiritually diseased, derelict, vicious, malicious, wicked, lewd and devilish. God calls His people to holiness (e.g. 1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 Thess. 4:3, 7). Satan is diametrically opposed to holy hearts and holy living. Wherever “evil” is present you can be sure Satan has a hand in what is happening.


Fourth, Satan uses mob tactics; he stirs up a riot. Whereas God is orderly (e.g. 1 Co. 14:33, 40), Satan is chaotic and loves a riot. Satan loves anarchy and he uses it to oppose God’s people. Ever try to share the gospel at an abortion clinic or Gay Pride parade or event? If you have, you know that it isn’t long before you’ll be accosted by an angry mob followed by a riot. Why does this inevitably happen? Why does such opposition try to shout down those who speak for the Lord? Because the enemy is behind it. Satan and his message of sin is no match for the powerful gospel. He knows that. So if he can’t reasonably oppose the gospel, he incites others to shout down in an effort to shut up people preaching the gospel or ministering God’s truth in His love. Remember that next time you are mobbed and don’t be surprised or fearful. Just stand strong in the Lord’s power and might.


Fifth, Satan uses violence as when he stirred up the mob to attack Jason and drag him before the rulers of the city (Acts 17:5b-6). When those preaching the gospel or ministering don’t run away from the mob, the enemy is not averse to ratcheting up the volume and even resorting to physical violence. When violence ensues the enemy is at work. Look at the apostles; they were stoned; beaten with rods; scourged; imprisoned and treated in harsh unmentionable ways. Why did that happen? Because of evil people but understand Satan was behind it all. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood. It’s against Satan and his minions (Eph. 6:12).


Sixth, Satan uses lying accusations as in the accusation that the apostle’s proclamation of Jesus was contrary to Caesar and the Roman government (Acts 17:7). Wherever untruths, half-truths, deception, false witness and false accusations are present, so is the influence of the enemy. When we speak in half-truths we open the door for the enemy to enter in. God’s way and standard is to speak His truth in His love (Eph. 4:15). Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with truth (Rom. 12:21). Don’t lie, be truthful!


Seventh, Satan stirs up opposition as when they “troubled” (ταράσσω tarassō, tar-as´-so) or agitated the crowd and rulers. Satan uses strife and conflict to get his way. Why is it turmoil is so prevalent when we’re preparing to go to church? Why do we persist in silly and superficial spats and disagreements? Part of it is our flesh and sinful nature rearing its angry head. But Satan is the one pouring fuel on the fire of our flesh! These are all things we should be aware of. The fruit of the Spirit is a love that is peaceful (Gal. 5:22-24). “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God ; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Heb. 12:14-15).


The next time you are envious or jealous, opposed by people with evil intent, have a group with a “mob” mentality confront you, are physically attacked or falsely accused, just keep in mind your enemy is probably at work. Then rely on God’s power, put on His armor. Use the weapons God has given you for this battle. Use His truth to hold you together. Keep your heart protected with His righteousness. Go with the powerful gospel of peace. Use faith and truth as your shield against Satan’s accusations. Keep your mind protected with the helmet of salvation and don’t forget the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. And above all pray. Do that, and you’ll win the day (cf. Eph. 6:10-18).


[1]Strong, James: The New Strong's Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1996, S. H8674

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

“She has done a good work for Me”

Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me” – Mark 14:6

What have you done for the Lord lately? Do you feel His prodding, His urging, His call and are hesitating, resisting or holding back? Do you fear or have you been told that ministry or giving to ministry in some way is a waste of time? Perhaps you’re considering college; Bible college; or seminary. Maybe you have your entire life in front of you and are wondering, What should I do? Maybe you’ve lived most of your life for yourself. Maybe you’re coming to terms with how the Lord would have you live out the remaining portion of breath He has blessed you with. Maybe you’ve considered giving your life in ministry but are being discouraged to do so because others would prefer you spend your life in “making a living,” “making money,” or “making a name for yourself.” Maybe you’re concerned with a pension; with retirement? Are you hearing comments like, “Ministry, really? Can’t you come up with something better than that? “Or, “Ministry? You’re not going into ministry are you? What a waste of time!” Or, “You’re giving to what, ministry?!” Let me tell you something, nothing that is done or given for Jesus is ever a waste in any way.

Jesus was in “Bethany at the house of Simon the leper” on the night He was to be betrayed. In a few short hours He would be brutalized and crucified for the redemption of humanity. John’s gospel account tells us it was Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus who “came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard” and “broke the flask and poured it on His head” (John 12:3; Mark 14:3). It was Lazarus who had been raised from the dead by Jesus (John 11). "Simon the leper" was probably also healed by Jesus (cf. Mark 1:40). What memories; what incredible miraculous blessings from God. And all of it was percolating in Mary. And what was happening inside led to a lavish act by Mary. The oil was worth 300 denarii or a year’s wages (Mark 14:5; John 12:6). A year’s wages! A year’s salary poured out on Jesus’ feet! Would you do that?

The disciples, led by Judas, felt at least the oil could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor (Mark 14:5; John 13:29). Logical. Reasonable. Pragmatic. Someone who is a good steward, or thrifty, would think like that. They were indignant, angry. Of course we know Judas was really concerned with pilfering the proceeds. But the other disciples may very well have had a legitimate concern (cf. John 12:6).  What would you have thought? What did Jesus think?

Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you. Wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Mark 14:6-9).

There’s a lot to learn in this passage. There’s something vital to take away from this account. Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” That means that she did something worth taking note of, worth repeating; worth copying and doing ourselves. What she did left us an example. What was her memorial? What is it we should remember and also do?

“She has done a good work for Me.” What is the nature of this good work she did? It was costly; valuable. It cost her a year’s wages. It was total. It was impractical, unreasonable, and not to logical as far as the male disciples were concerned. Maybe they were thinking, Just like a woman. But look deeper. It is likely this oil was something that was very precious to her. Precious oil was often purchased as a kind of investment for the future; it was a valued commodity; a precious currency. It may have been her dowry; something to be given her husband upon their marriage. If she were to die before marrying it may have been poured out on her own body in burial. By pouring it out on Jesus it was as though she was saying, “I give my future, my family, my happiness, my hopes and dreams, my life; I pour it all out to You Jesus.” Pouring out this costly oil was an act of supreme, deep and total devotion to Jesus. Have you poured yourself out to Jesus like that? Who holds your future? Or are you like the disciples, too practical and reserved for something like that?

This good work was exorbitant. When was the last time you did something lavish, exorbitant for Jesus? When was the last time you went all the way for Jesus? When was the last time your worship of Jesus took priority over your future plans? When was the last time you gave something to Jesus or for His glory that actually cost you something? Some say “I can’t afford to give.” Looking at Mary and her good work seems to tell us, “You can’t afford not to give.” At some point she came to realize, “I must give.” Jesus said, “She has done what she could.” She could not have done anything less. How about you?

But what about the poor? Don’t mistake what Jesus was saying. He isn’t minimizing ministry to the poor. He was maximizing our worship and commitment to Him. The poor and caring for them is extremely important. But it pales in comparison to how we spend our time with Jesus. In fact, if you don’t lavish worship on Jesus you probably won’t have too much to offer the poor or anyone else. Are you a Mary or a disciple?

Notice how Jesus attached the good work of Mary to the preaching of the gospel. How are they connected? They are connected at the heart. What Mary did is an example of how everyone should come to Jesus. She symbolized in a very worshipful and real way that she was giving her all to Jesus. That’s really what God is looking for when the gospel is preached. I received Jesus as my Savior over 35 years ago with the words that can be summed up as “Jesus, I’m Yours.”  My wife likes to say of people who struggle with their relationship with Jesus, “They just have to fall in love with Jesus.” That’s what Mary’s lavish act of worship communicated. She was totally in love with her Lord Jesus. She was wholly holy to Him. Are you?

What does your life speak to Jesus? Are you more like the disciples who scorned and looked down on lavish expressions of love to Jesus? Are you very practical; so practical that you’d never think of condoning such a lavish expenditure of funds, not even on Jesus? Remember, “You are not your own . . . For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Remember, “you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your sinless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19). Maybe as Mary and the disciples prepared to eat the Passover meal together that fateful night, it all came together for her. Maybe she realized what Jesus said of her act – “She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial” (Mark 14:8).

This season of the crucifixion and resurrection why not pray about a lavish expression of your live for Jesus? Ask the Lord how you could show your love for Him in a costly lavish way like Mary did. Ask Him how you can follow in her steps and do a similar good work. Ask Him.



Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Is There a Fly in the Ointment?

“Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment” – Ecclesiastes 10:1a

Are you comfortable with sin in your life? I ask that because sometimes people reason and rationalize that a certain amount of sin is acceptable. They use phrases like “grace covers it all,” or, “God will understand.” They say those phrases in a kind of casual even flippant sort of way. Yes, we are forgiven by God on the basis of His grace. The blood of Jesus does cleanse from all our sin. But when a casual view of sin is adopted we become like those who, “trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which He was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29). We should never be complacent toward sin.

Sin, in all its forms and circumstances, separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). It hinders our communication with God (Psalm 66:18). Sin is so harmful to His precious creation that God finds it hard to even look on evil and wickedness (Habakkuk 1:13). Jesus finds sins such as lukewarmness repulsive; it turns His stomach sick (Revelation 3:16). The apostle John didn’t mince words, he said it was children of the devil who sin (1 John 3:7-9). So I ask, how much sin is allowable?

Purity and holiness are important to God. He doesn’t want us to allow sin that will cloud our spiritual receptivity with Him. He wants our channel clear, uncluttered by the static of sin. Incense is a type of prayer in the Bible. In the Old Testament when God gave instructions about how the incense used in His Tabernacle was to be made He said, “You shall make of these an incense, a compound according to the art of the perfumer, salted, pure, and holy. And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put some of it before the Testimony in the tabernacle of meeting where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you” (Exodus 30:35-36). Our prayer life should be precious to us. It is precious to the Lord. And because of that we should make sure we take sin seriously. Our prayers should be salted, pure and holy with the word of God in the power of the Spirit. We need to beat our prayer life very fine.  We need to pay attention to detail and beat out every sin that threatens to entangle us.

The Holy anointing oil of the Old Testament was a symbol of the anointing of the Spirit on those who served the Lord. “And you shall make from these a holy anointing oil, an ointment compounded according to the art of the perfumer. It shall be a holy anointing oil. . . . And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations. It shall not be poured on man’s flesh; nor shall you make any other like it, according to its composition. It is holy, and it shall be holy to you. Whoever compounds any like it, or whoever puts any of it on an outsider, shall be cut off from his people” (Exodus 30:25, 31-33). The anointing of the Holy Spirit is for holy living. It is not to be casually combined with the fleshliness of those who have a casual view of sin. The word holy means separate, distinct. Something that is holy is separate from the world and devoted to God. Sin wrecks all of that. You can’t have a casual view of sin and be empowered with the anointing of the Spirit. You can’t use grace as an excuse for sin. God’s grace and the Holy Spirit do not bring us to a place where we are free to sin, but to a place where we are free from sin. There are those today who have fallen into the delusion that we can sin boldly before the Lord. That’s hogwash; literally. That is an abuse of God’s grace.

Jesus cleansed the Temple of thieves and said His Father’s house was meant to be a place of prayer (Matthew 21; Mark 11; John 2). We are the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19). If we have surrendered to God and been forgiven our sins, we no longer belong to ourselves; we belong to God (1 Cor. 6:20). Is there any sin in us or on us His Temple, that He wants to or needs to cleanse? Are we a place of prayer or impurity?

The story is told of a family whose children constantly nagged their parents to lower the standard to allow them to watch some less than holy TV programs. The parents didn’t feel the programs were something their children should watch. The children disagreed.  To prove their point the parents made some brownies as a special treat for desert one night. When they brought them out the children we ecstatic. “Brownies!” they all exclaimed. But then the father said, “These are special brownies with a special ingredient. You know Buffy our faithful dog. Well she helped us with these brownies. We know how much you love her. So we thought we’d have her contribute. She gave us some brown ingredients of her own to put in these brownies. It was just a little. It won’t hurt. It doesn’t smell that bad. You probably won’t even taste it.” Needless to say the parents made their point. How much sin does it take to make something tasteless, (or should I say uneatable?). How much sin makes something putrid?  Just a little.

Did you know that rat poison is 99.9% nutritious for rats? It’s that .01% poison that’s a killer. How much sin does it take to kill you; to inhibit and negatively affect your spiritual life? Just a little. Sin is like cancer, it only takes one cell to metastasize to a life threatening condition. The same is true with sin. Sin is never solitary, it always multiplies. Samson thought he could play with sin. It ended up blinding him, binding him and grinding him down (Judges 16:21).

Is there a stench of sin in your life? “Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, and cause it to give off a foul odor; so does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor” (Ecclesiastes 10:1). Did you ever watch what flies are attracted to? They are attracted to death; dead meat; dead flesh. They are attracted to refuse, to dung. And when the fly travels from place to place they carry impurities and drop them off wherever they land. Are there dead flies in your life? Are the dead flies in your life transferring their putrification to others? As people see and follow your compromises with questionable activities, even sin, do they follow your downward spiral? Are people following you like flies to a dung heap? Don’t lower your standards or rationalize sin into your life. It’s not good for you. It’s not good for those around you. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

You are a sweet smelling aroma to the Lord. Don’t foul that aroma with the smell of dead flies. God has promised to show you the way of escape in times of temptation (1 Cor. 10:13). It’s not merely a question of what is or is not permissible. It’s a question of what is helpful, beneficial to the cause of Christ, and glorifying to the Lord (cf. 1 Cor. 6:12; 10:31). Is there a fly in your ointment? Swat it out with prayer in the power of the Spirit.