“But thanks be to God, Who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.” -2 Corinthians 2:14
I love the smell of coffee and oven-roasted bacon lingering in the morning, hours after breakfast. It’s an inviting aroma that says ‘Come and stay awhile’. When I was little my grandmother’s home always seemed to have a comforting aroma wafting through the house (usually fresh baked bread from scratch). Fragrances have a way of bringing to mind a memory or a person. They have the power to make us react with delight or a visceral response of disgust.
When I think about our sense of smell and the impact it has, it’s interesting to read in Scripture how Paul uses the metaphor of fragrance (2 Corinthians 2:14-16). Back up even further to the Old Testament and we see the first priests using sacred perfume in the tabernacle (Exodus 30:22-38). It was not to be replicated for common use. Only priests were given the task of administering the perfumed oil to anoint the Tent of Meeting. Priests were also consecrated with this holy perfume, carrying around a specific fragrance.
Today believer priests are the aroma of Christ. As a Christian my witness is a fragrant offering of who I am in Him. Reflecting the heart of Jesus is my “scent”. It will smell like death to the unbeliever as my Biblical worldview always points to an eternal perspective, emphasizing life after death. It brings them face to face with their own mortality and eternity.
To the fellow Christian my life will be a familiar and welcoming fragrance, heavily perfumed with the glory of God. This is because the true Church is knitted together with the same heart. Jesus makes this our reality. Even though our personalities, preferences, backgrounds, nationalities, and cultural differences tend to separate us, in Christ we are One. God is at work in each of us not only reconcile us to Himself in perfect fellowship, but also to one another in the Body of Christ. This is for our sanctification and how men will know we are followers of Jesus (John 13:34-35).
The world seeks to divide people, but especially God’s people. May this not be so. We have a responsibility to love each other first, our faith family. Our love for others is a direct reflection of our love for the Lord (1 John 4:20-21). Gossiping, assuming the worst in another, quarreling and even hatred do not represent Christ. In fact, this dishonors His Name and grieves the Holy Spirit.
God desires for us to worship Him by offering a sweet-smelling sacrifice. Namely, how we relate to the people around us. What we say and do, even what we think of others, matters. Our words of kindness and truth, sincere love, humble service, self-control, a listening ear, and the ability to forgive quickly will diffuse the pleasing aroma of Jesus. When we choose to react like the world of godless rebels believers miss the opportunity to display their signature scent.
You are the pleasing aroma of Jesus Christ. What a privilege it is to put on the sacred perfume He bled and bought for you and me.
Grace upon grace,
Grow deeper: Exodus 30:22-38; 2 Corinthians 2:14-17; Colossians 3:12-17