A Soothing Aroma

Posted by on May 29, 2009 in Blog Posts | 1 comment

“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved
and among
those who are perishing,
to one a fragrance from death to death,

to the other a fragrance from life to life.
Who is sufficient for these things?

2 Corinthians 2:15-16 (ESV)

It is time! The gardenias in my yard have begun their blooming. The fragrance from the shrubs in my yard is intoxicating as I meander out there from time to time.

Yesterday, I cut enough for two arrangements to bring indoors and enjoy not only the fragrance but also the beauty. One is on my vanity. The other is in the living room. As I proceed from the backdoor through those areas, I note the fragrance as more potent the closer I get to it. It is wonderful!

I met a friend for lunch and she had a gardenia waiting for me at my place. The fragrance was alive even in that restaurant. As I drove home with the flower on the seat, the perfume began to permeate the air in my car. I moved it to the air vent where the effect was even greater.

Gardenias provide a pleasing aroma; a soothing aroma.

God talks about a soothing and pleasing aroma much in His Word. Part of the sacrificial offering was to remove the fat from the sacrifices and burn it on the altar as a soothing aroma to the Lord. The fragrance from the sacrifices themselves was also pleasing to Him. I think about that when I drive by a barbecue joint and catch a whiff of the meat wafting its way into and through my air vents.

Both fragrances are heavenly.

There’s another moment in the Scriptures regarding the olfactory area and the result of the scent to those around it. That reference is at the top. Go back and look at it again, if necessary.

Paul is writing. He, a former Jew, very knowledgeable in the Law and in Christ, is giving an example of what believers (he and his cohorts, specifically) are like to those around them as they are doing the work of Christ, spreading the Gospel. This applies to believers today, as well.

Wherever believers are we are the aroma of Christ to God. Period.

By the way, that word, “aroma,” means this: “a sweet fragrance.”

Imagine the scent of those gardenias in my living room and pictured above. Better yet, if you can get to a gardenia, go smell it. Take in the fragrance. It’s not something that you would run from pinching your nostrils together as you would, say, a skunk who has just delivered his famous fragrance near you. Is it? No. It’s a wonderful smell; it’s not an odor. For the sake of getting my point across, it is safe to surmise that gardenias that are freshly bloomed and freshly cut have the same pleasing fragrance no matter where they are and no matter who’s smelling them. A gardenia is a gardenia. Good.

Now take that knowledge and apply it to that fact that no matter where a believer of Christ is, we are the aroma of Christ to God. Period. We don’t “stink”, if you will. Our “scent” is a sweet fragrance to God. It pleases Him. We are like the gardenias outside in my yard and inside in vases here and there. To tie it in to the sacrificial offering aromas, our lives of service (in sharing the Gospel in word and deed) for Him are soothing aromas that please Him and honor Him. Our ministry for Him is our sacrifice, so to speak. It smells good.

When we are among other believers our fragrance is evident and they pick up on the scent of eternal life in our offering to God of proclaiming His message of eternal life through Christ and Christ only. Those that receive that Good News in our offering of telling it pick up on that fragrance.

Sadly, that pleasing aroma of the believer is as a stinking skunk to the pagan who refuses that Good News when we are around. They cannot interpret, comprehend, whatever, the aroma of the believer. To them, they smell death. To those who reject the gospel and disbelieve our message of Christ, it is as if the stench of death has gotten stuck in their noses. Really, it’s not even “as if,” because it IS stuck. The closer you are to spiritual death, the more powerful the odor, I guess is another way to phrase it.

Yet, to those who believe, the fragrance is that of life.

What are we to do? Are we to bottle our fragrance and keep it only to ourselves? No. We are to be the fragrance of Christ to God to the perishing and to those being saved. The bride of Christ has to leave her fragrant gardenia petals everywhere she goes. Some will want to linger over the aroma and have it rub off on them. Others will run as if the perfume girl in the department store is about to tackle them with the latest spritzes.

The main thing is this: be fragrant for the Lord. It pleases Him.

One Comment

  1. I’m smelling the gardenias right now. I’m closing my eyes and imagining I’m in a beautiful garden where there is a nice breeze, birds chirping, and a babbling brook near by. As I open my eyes all I see is yet another customer pulling in the drive thru facing the wrong direction. Back to work.
    …it was a nice thought though:O)

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