Fly in the ointment
A fly in the ointment is an idiom that has its origins in a text written thousands of years ago. We will look at the meaning of the phrase a fly in the ointment, the origins of this phrase and some examples of its use in sentences.
A fly in the ointment describes something slightly irritating that ruins the overall picture, the enjoyment or success of a situation. A fly in the ointment is a minor drawback that keeps someone from proclaiming a complete success. The idiom fly in the ointment most probably has its roots in the Old Testament, in the book of Ecclesiastes. In the King James version, translated in the early 1600s, the passage reads: “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.” Well over one hundred idioms in common usage can be traced to the King James translation of the Bible. Interestingly, the first use of the idiom a fly in the ointment didn’t appear in the English language until early in the 1700s, in the book A Practical Treatise Concerning Humility by John Norris.Advertisement
I catch myself talking about the irritating things about others or complaining or praying fo someone else to change, but do I beg God to change me?
Am I aware of the offense things that I am do, say and cause that are stenches in the nostrils of those I offend? Can I be neutral in critiquing my flaws? Honest in estimating my success and my imperfections? Can we say that we know God if do not mortify the deeds of our members?
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)
I had this phrase repeating in my head, the deeds of the flesh and the deeds of the Spirit are manifest. So that means that others can see if you are good…others can see if there are gaping holes.
Proverbs 9:1Wisdom has built her house;
she has carved outa her seven pillars.
2She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
she has also set her table.
3She has sent out her maidservants;
she calls out from the heights of the city.
4“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
she says to him who lacks judgment.
5“Come, eat my bread
and drink the wine I have mixed.
6Leave your folly behind, and you will live;
walk in the way of understanding.”
7He who corrects a mocker brings shame on himself;
he who rebukes a wicked man taints himself.
8Do not rebuke a mocker, or he will hate you;
rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
9Instruct a wise man, and he will be wiser still;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase his learning.
10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
and years will be added to your life.
12If you are wise, you are wise to your own advantage;
but if you scoff, you alone will bear the consequences.
I want so badly to be like Wisdom. I love the personification of Wisdom as a woman who is wisely preparing her home for company.
Yet, I see ways that I need to get the dead flies out of my ointment and I need to be patient to achieve the prize.