Dirt in the Wells
During the Middle Ages, apparently, when you fought an enemy and were desirous to take over his territory, your success lay more in the battle strategy or plan, than in any actual fighting. At that time it was a common strategy to weaken the enemy before attack. In order to do so, there was an attempt made to deprive the enemy of water, so the first thing to do was to fill up the wells with dirt, with earth. This resulted in the destruction and pollution of the water supply and the consequential weakening of the enemy.
My Sermon today, entitled “Dirt in the Wells” is about the strategy of the devil to weaken the children of God and thus gain advantage and victory over them. Satan is still in the business of pouring dirt into the wells of life springing up within the children of God, thus blocking the source and strength of blessing, and creating instead the bondage and baggage that weakens in any fight with him?
The good news of the Gospel that Jesus taught, is that there IS a way to avoid these blockages, these boulders that block the road of life, and hinder or halt our walk with God. You see, I have noticed something odd or unusual in the lives of some believers that for a while I struggled to understand. Many who call themselves Christian, do not look like Christians, or to be more precise, they are not good adverts for the Kingdom of God.
Instead of walking in all the Joys of their Salvation, they appear to walk in unhappiness and misery, they do not smile, they do not laugh, and they do not appear to love. As I say, “poor adverts”… are you one?
In the moments left to me today, I want to talk about SEVEN Dirty things which we should never allow in our lives. If we do, then the flow of the Holy Spirit, the well of the water of life, the fountain of joy and peace within, these blessings will become blocked and the spiritual life within us will dry up.
So then, what are these Seven things we should never allow to find room in our hearts. They are:
JUDGEMENT, HATRED, BITTERNESS, RESENTMENT, JEALOUSY, UNFORGIVINGNESS, and
I can guarantee you that if you walk without any one of these things, then you will walk a happy road, and live a joyous life always.
So then let us take a quick look at each, one by one.
Firstly, what I’m calling the Dirt of JUDGEMENT
The dictionary tells us, it is the evaluation of evidence in the making of a decision. And while this is considered necessary when it come to the LAW, and to the practice of the Courtroom, there are many of us who make our own Judgements based on no evidence whatsoever?
Our Judgements are more often based on the conclusions we have jumped to, rather than any hard evidence visible. We jump to conclusions based on here-say or gossip, or feelings, or on similarities within our own consciousness. We imagine that just because we think about something in a particular way, then other people must think the way we do. Even when we do have some evidence that appears to disprove the character or testimony of another, nevertheless we do not have any right or justification to sit in Judgement on them.
Jesus taught us about this in the Sermon on the Mount, when
he said: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye”. Matthew 7: 3-5
If as Jesus says you are concerned about your own faults and failing, then you will never have the time to worry or concern yourself, over mine or anyone else’s?
So get that Judgemental attitude out of your heart and life, it is dirt in the well.
Then there is the Dirt of HATRED
The Dictionary tells us that Hatred (or hate) is a deep and emotional extreme dislike, directed against a certain object or class of objects. The objects of such hatred can vary widely, from inanimate objects to animals, oneself or other people, entire groups of people, people in general, existence, or the whole world. Though not necessarily, hatred is often associated with feelings of anger and a disposition towards hostility against the objects of hatred. Hatred can become very driven. Actions after a lingering thought are not uncommon upon people or oneself. Hatred can result in extreme behaviour such as violence,
murder and even lead to war. Hatred then is an extreme dislike. WE know as Christians that it is not always possible to like everyone, even though we are exhorted from the scriptures to LOVE everyone. This means that while you may Love me, you may not like me; but you should not HATE me!
Let me explain: God gives to all of those who are truly his children, truly saved by his grace, truly born into his family … God gives to them all the nature of love. The Bible adds, that “He who does not have this loving nature is not of God”
1 John 4:7. This means that God has put within me the capacity to Love Everyone without exception. I made up my mind a long time ago, that I would never hate anyone, and that I would love all, as God promised he would enable me to do. It is this kind of love for all, that motivates and moves me to my ministry of preaching. This God kind of love enables you to see beyond the exterior to the interior. You see less of the outside of the person, their characteristics, their mannerisms, their language, their habits, their pursuits, and you begin to see more of what they are inside.
You see their heart, their feelings, their emotions, their hopes, their fears, their dreams, their ambitions, you see something of their souls and that’s why it becomes easy to love them there.
I may dislike what I see on the outside, (I don’t like to see a boy or girl with a bolt through their eyebrow) but I can love what I see on the inside (i.e. their cry for attention and affection). So while I may dislike them, I can love them, and should never hate them under any circumstances. Remember the example of Jesus who loved his murderers enough to die for them. Hatred and Hate should have no part in any Christians life, it is the dirt that blocks the wells.
Consider too the Dirt of BITTERNESS
according to the dictionary is something “unpleasant, sharp, or disagreeable” and in relation to the human characteristic is very
similar to resentment – which we shall look at next. But
for the purposes of this discourse, I shall consider the word Bitterness in the light of the dictionary definition “Disagreeable”. So that we can conclude that a Bitter person
or a person who is bitter about something, is a disagreeable person! That makes a lot of sense. Let me say just one thing about the spirit of bitterness that may live in the human heart.
It is a poisonous spirit, that can destroy, and the victim of bitterness and resentment is invariably the individual themselves and not the one to whom the bitterness or resentment is levelled. If I am going to live a disagreeable and bitter life, spreading a poison wherever I go, the first person to fall victim to its venom will be myself, … I will literally kill myself.
Have you seen it? I have!
Now let us look at RESENTMENT
Resentment can also be called Bitterness and is the experience of a negative emotion (anger or hatred, for instance felt as a result of a real or imagined wrong done). The word originates from the French “ressentir”. The English word has become synonymous with anger, spite, and bitterness.
Robert C. Solomon, a professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, places resentment on the same line-continuum with contempt and anger. According to Robert, the differences between the three emotions are as follows: resentment is directed towards higher-status individuals, anger is directed towards equal-status individuals and contempt is directed towards lower-status individuals. Something is ponder?
Resentment can be triggered by an emotionally disturbing experience felt again or relived in the mind. When the person feeling resentment is directing the emotion at themselves it appears as remorse. But it is a bitter poison that destroys.
Lets look again at what the Bible says about Bitterness and Resentment. Turn with me if you will to James Chapter three and verse 14. James says …
” But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work”
James 3: 14-16
James here uses the word “devilish” which in the Greek means “demonic” or of the demons of hell. If you give room to bitterness you make room for hell in your life. You will be inviting more dirt to block your well!
Next let us look at JEALOUSY,
Jealousy is a second emotion and typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something that a person values, particularly in reference to a human connection. Jealousy often consists of a combination of presenting emotions such as anger, sadness, resentment and disgust. It is not to be confused with envy.
Jealousy as I have said seems to stem from insecurity, and usually comes into the heart when someone else has been preferred over you. Someone is chosen and you are not, someone is honoured and you are not, someone is rewarded and you are not. This creates a negativity, or negative thinking about the position or person who created your loss. Someone else may have gotten your Job, or the job you thought was yours, and even though you may not know the individual concerned, you are jealous of them because of it. Someone else may be the focus of praise while you are the ignored? And even though you have no such great achievements, you can become jealous.
A totally innocent person, may suddenly become to you “persona-non-gratis“, just because they succeeded where you failed? Jealousy is rife within the Church and it can lead to Pride, something else that God hates. Instead of Jealousy, as brothers and sisters in Christ we should “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep”. Romans 12:15
I recall a woman and her daughter who both came to a meeting in the Church for prayer for healing.
The mother was so delighted that her daughter had been miraculously healed and delivered that she started praising God clapping her hands, jumping up and down, forgetting all about her own needs. In that moment Gods touch fell on her body too, and they were both healed. The Mother said later: “I was so blessed in having my daughter healed that I had forgotten all about my own sicknesses”
Let me say a word or two about ENVY. As I indicated a moment ago, envy and jealousy should not be confused, even though a jealous person may envy another. Envy is essentially covetousness. It is desiring what another has, and being jealous about it. Much of criminal activity finds its roots in envy. Stealing is often envy orientated. As Christians we must cast all these things from our hearts, if we are to walk in the joy of the Lord Jesus. Remove this Dirt from the Wells.
Then we must consider UNFORGIVINGNESS
Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offence, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as ‘to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offence or a debt’.
The concept and benefits of forgiveness have been explored in religious thought, the social sciences even in medicine. Forgiveness may be considered simply in terms of the person who forgives including forgiving themselves, in terms of the person forgiven or in terms of the relationship between the forgiver and the person forgiven. In some contexts, forgiveness may be granted without any expectation of restorative justice, and without any response on the part of the offender? (for example, one may forgive a person who has already died). In practical terms, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of acknowledgment, apology or restitution, or even just ask for forgiveness, in order for the wronged person to believe
himself able to forgive.
Gods forgiveness goes way beyond any and all of this, for
He pardons all who confess their sins and failings, and recons them thereafter as though they had never committed the offence at all. God forgives and forgets; we call it Justification!
So then as the apostle Peter asks, “what manner of Persons ought we to be”? We, who have been forgiven much ought also to know how to forgive, and Jesus said: “if ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your father in Heaven forgive you“
Matthew 6:15 Unforgivingness is Dirt in the Well!
Finally, let us consider the Dirt of COMPETITION
Not all competition or competitiveness is wrong.
Competition is a contest between individuals, groups, animals, etc. for territory, a niche, or a location of resources. It arises whenever two and only two strive for a goal which cannot be shared. Competition occurs naturally between living organisms which co-exist in the same environment. For example, animals compete over water supplies, food, mates, and other biological
resources. Humans compete for water, food, and mates, though when these necessities of life are met, deep rivalries often arise over the pursuit of wealth, prestige, and fame. Business is often associated with competition as most companies are in competition with at least one other – over the same group
The point I am wishing to make here is that as Christians, within the Church and Kingdom of God, there is no necessity for Competition. You should never want to be me, nor should I ever want to be you! Those who strive in this kind of competitiveness, have failed to grasp and understand their uniqueness to God, and failed to see His Divine purpose in their lives. Years ago when I was ministering in the Philippines, one young Pastor came up to me and said “I ask God to make me like you”. Humanly speaking one would be delighted with such a compliment, but my response to him on that day, is as my response has always been … I said “My dear brother, you should never ask God to make you like anyone but Jesus”. God wants me to be me, and he wants you to be you, and he wants us all to be like Jesus. To want anything else is only dirt in the well.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
The Shakespeare monologue from “As you Like it” referring to the Seven Ages of Man, begins …
“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances;…”
Do you know that everyone you will ever encounter along the road of life, whether they be good of bad, has been put there
by God, for a reason. So don’t worry and fret about the part they play. – YOU play YOUR part, and leave them to theirs.
When life is done and you stand before your Maker, you will answer for you, they for them, and they will not be allowed to make any comment about you then, neither will their opinions be asked for or even considered. Oscars and Medals are awarded to a player for their part, and God has a crown for you, if you play your part well. If your opponents win a crown,
it will be for their part, and if you win one, for yours.
So get on with your Life and Service for Jesus Christ,
and don’t keep looking over your shoulder to see who
is following or applauding you.
Don’t ever at any time or for any reason allow
JUDGEMENT, HATRED, BITTERNESS, RESENTMENT, JEALOUSY, UNFORGIVINGNESS, or
COMPETITION into your life, if you do these things
will be Dirt in the Wells.
Make it your aim and focus above all else to get your final ovation and commendation from Heaven.
God Bless You