OK, Hump Day Readers, this is not a devotion on perfume, body smells or anything else, but in a strange way it kind of is! Let me explain. I was watching a podcast with Christine Caine the other day and she was in 2 Corinthians, Chapter 2, which was a part of her main teaching on “wherever we go we must take Christ.”
Unfortunately, my Wi-Fi pooped out and I didn’t get to hear the whole podcast so I sent myself to 2 Corinthians, Chapter 2 and when I read verses 14 and 15, I did have to chuckle. We are an “aroma of Christ” and those who follow Christ spread the “fragrance of the Gospel?” I’ve read 2 Corinthians before but somehow these two verses just blew by me.
If you would ask me about aroma and fragrance, the last thing I would think was something to do with my faith! Be good salt, yes, I like that idea, but when I think of aroma and fragrance my thoughts go elsewhere—my allergy to perfumes. And aroma, I think more of fresh-cut grass or an apple pie coming out of the oven.
But our spiritual lives also have a scent—the aroma and fragrance the Holy Spirit instills in us that truly can gather others to us. It’s like when you hang your sheets out on the line. Oh, that smell is so fresh you can’t wait to sleep in-between the sheets! And that is exactly what the Apostle Paul was talking about. The more time you spend with Jesus the more you spread the joy and peace that comes into your life and that attracts people.
Being the “aroma of Christ” to the world means speaking without judgment, caring for others no matter their creed, color, race or politics. The knowledge you have because of your faith can either be a fragrance people will be attracted to or if you are puffed up about that knowledge, and are rigid and legalistic, that fragrance is more like the smell of eating garlic! Who wants to be around you?
Using the Message Bible, 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 reads: “In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse. This is a terrific responsibility. Is anyone competent to take it on? No—but at least we don’t take God’s Word, water it down, and then take it to the streets to sell it cheap. We stand in Christ’s presence when we speak; God looks us in the face. We get what we say straight from God and say it as honestly as we can.”
In reality these verses tell us that, as followers of Jesus, we must emanate the “fragrance of the Gospel” in how we speak, act, worship, and live our lives. It matters not where we are, for wherever we are the Holy Spirit lives in us so we can share the joys of being a child of God to others who are dying in spirit, body and mind.
One part of the podcast from Christine Caine I remembered and put to memory because I thought her words were so powerful when she said: “Be encouraged each day with the practical and remember that almost every physical principle has a spiritual parallel.” That parallel is our “scent” our “truth in living our faith” for a world that is living in darkness.
What better gift can we leave to family, friends, neighbors—the whole world—than the precious salvation of Jesus Christ? It is not ours to keep hidden, but to share it with the world, and by sharing, we benefit that “fragrance” as well.
King David understood that “sweet incense—that aroma” as he prayed in Psalm 141, Vs.2: “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!” May we do likewise in our prayers to God and our outreach to others.
So much “stinks” in our society, but that isn’t God’s doing, it is the ‘rot’ of the sins of hatred, indifference, selfishness, and pride. We must be the aroma of love, mercy, forgiveness, grace and peace—the fragrance of the Gospel that changes lives for today and for eternity, AMEN.