Our sense of smell creates and recalls to mind memories that can both touch our hearts or turn our stomachs. For instance, I will forever remember the way my mother smelled after she took a bath. Her blend of bubble bath and bath powder coupled with a hint of perfume would permeate the house. It was a sweet aroma that made the house feel even more like home. One evening recently that fragrance came to me. It was just an ordinary evening but suddenly those memories were triggered by that familiar smell. I still have no idea from whence it came but it made me feel close to her even though she passed away thirteen years ago. Not all smells are pleasant however. I have heard medical professionals speak of the stench of burnt flesh and how it is something they will never be able to forget even though it causes them to feel ill at the very thought of it.
I love the smell of coffee. I have been known to stand in the coffee aisle in the grocery store just to take in the wonderful earthy scent as long as I could. Not everyone likes that smell though. To me it is a pleasure, to others it is something to be avoided. This week's verse discusses the dichotomy of our lives being a Christ-like fragrance. To some it symbolizes life but to others death.
This has caused me to do some introspection. What does it mean? If we are to live lives that are "a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God", what are we to do? I see in this verse what is ideal. Ideally we are to reflect our Lord as He is. Ideally, we are to live our lives in such a manner that others will be drawn to us, not because of us, but because of Him in us. However, most of us do not present ourselves in such a manner at all times, or even most of the time. We get caught up in whatever is happening in the moment and forget that He is living in us. We fail to project His love, His hope, His power.
When we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, we are born anew. The Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us and we begin to grow closer to Him and become more like Him. There are times though that we revert back to our old ways. Our old speech patterns come back. Old habits such as worry and defeatism return. We forget that those around us who do not know Him are watching us to see how we rely on Him to help us through troubled times. In so doing, we lose the sweet aroma and emit a sour smell of hopelessness. An unsaved person that witnesses this may conclude that since we say we are Christians yet do not have confidence in Jesus, that there is no reason for them to either. If we turn to Him, praise Him and openly trust Him, then we present the opposite. The fragrance will be one that draws others in and creates a desire to know more about our Lord. It is one that will speak life and joy.
We have an enemy whose main purpose is to snatch us away from Jesus. He doesn't want us to reach others with the Truth. He hates anything that points the way to the Almighty. So he is quite pleased when we fall back into our old ways. He revels at the stench of death. Let's not give him that satisfaction. We belong to Christ. That needs to be our identity, our purpose and our very breath.
As we go through this week, let's be on guard so that the fragrance we project is Christ-like. It will mean being alert and conscious of our words and actions at all times. That's okay though because we have the Holy Spirit to help us. Love and blessings to all.
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