As I’ve been doing more evangelistic work over the past several months I’ve had the opportunity spend a good bit of time in various places around town. And as you can imagine, each location has its own unique aroma that attaches itself to my clothing. Nearly every time I come home from one of these places, Anita can identify where I’ve been simply by the smell. Guadalajara, Charlie’s BBQ, Moody Blue, Moody Auto, etc. each leave a distinct odor on anyone who visits. You likely know what I’m talking about and have experienced this same thing on many occasion. Not that we shouldn’t visit these places, but we just need to be aware that odor transfers itself to whomever it comes in contact with.
2 Corinthians 2:15 - For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing
So here’s the question we must wrestle with today. When we meet with other people what aroma do they take away from that encounter? Could it often be the aroma of condemnation … worry … guilt … fear … hatred … self-centeredness … anger … greed … lust … shame? Or perhaps might they somehow catch a whiff of the “aroma of Christ”?
If we’re demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) people will catch the scent of Jesus that has rubbed off on us. A lifestyle of grace, love, awe, forgiveness, sacrifice, mercy, worship, kindness, hospitality, reverence, humility, etc. will indicate that we’ve been spending some time with Jesus.
Unfortunately, we’ve tried to bottle that aroma in an artificial spray form that we can just apply when it’s convenient, when we remember, or when it helps accomplish our own agendas. We can manufacture our fake smiles, recite some spiritual-sounding words, get our Jesus swag going, etc. But this fake, knock-off brand of fragrance actually smells cheap, not to mention that it is offensive to God, the maker of the real thing.
You know when we’re going to catch the aroma of Christ and become the aroma of Christ? Most often it’s NOT going to be in the hyped-up, mountain-top experiences of the Christian life (though those are indeed nice!) but rather when we’re pushed up right next to Jesus in the valleys of life; when we’re crouched low in the bunker to avoid the attacks of the enemy and find Jesus right there with us; when we experience pain and suffering and have nothing to cling to except Jesus; when we dig into the Scripture (the word of God) with our own hands rather than just nodding in agreement with what everyone else says about Jesus. But oh, what a beautiful fragrance that is! And how refreshing that aroma is to others, including “those who are perishing.”
Again, what do others smell when they encounter us? Let’s make sure it’s Jesus.