Jesus smelled good. Do you?
I don’t mean Jesus showered every day; He didn’t. People used various methods to try to smell nice, but cologne as we know it wasn’t available 2000 years ago. But no one could come near Him without feeling an almost irresistible attraction. The heavenly perfume of Jesus’ goodness and holiness was undeniable.
The attraction to Jesus was not some sappy happiness or momentary feel-good “love”. It had nothing to do with religious stuff. Yes, He healed people and gave them hope for a better life. But everything about Him – not only but including His words – radiated fierce courage, jealous love, and a call to a deeper, fuller, wilder, and more purposeful life than anyone had previously imagined.
You couldn’t meet Jesus and not be changed. Not everyone who sensed the fragrance of Jesus responded positively. But no one could leave His presence or His life without facing a choice – to either follow Him on a journey to goodness and holiness and purpose themselves, or to reject His offer and follow evil instead.
You Have an Aroma Too
Everything about you has an effect on others. You can’t keep that from happening any more than you can keep your body odor or perfume to yourself.
But you do have a choice about what kind of aroma you give off.
Paul said it this way: “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)
Do you smell like death? Or like life?
Put yourself in the shoes of people who are around you every day – your spouse, your family, your friends, your church acquaintances, your coworkers, the people you meet at the store or at your children’s school or on the plane. What do you smell like to them? Imagine yourself in their place. Would you be drawn toward God’s kingdom because of knowing you, or would you be pushed away?
If you don’t know what aroma you are giving off, ask the people closest to you. If the thought of your aroma is a scary one, don’t get discouraged. See this as an opportunity to proactively put on some new heavenly perfume.
Putting On Heavenly Perfume
The best aromas come from good things. Imagine the fragrance of freshly baked bread, or a sudden summer thunderstorm. Think of your baby’s hair, a blooming rosebush, or the surf on the beach. Fragrances elicit deep emotions within us. They affect our behavior, our moods, and our wellbeing.
That’s important to remember, because you can’t cover up the stink of infidelity or selfishness or a thirst for power and control by spritzing on some Bible verses or spiritual-sounding religious phrases. Calling yourself a Christian or letting others know how sinful they are doesn’t turn the stench of rudeness and arrogance into an inviting aroma.
The best “fragrance of life” comes from someone transformed by God’s grace. Here are a few points to help you develop that kind of fragrance.
1. Don’t Shrink from the Holy Spirit’s Correction.
We all start out stinky. At baptism our old body odor is washed away and everything is made new, but we still need some regular showers. We still need ongoing growth, correction, development, and conviction which the Holy Spirit will provide if you allow Him.
The Holy Spirit will put His finger on something in your heart or life and say, “This right here: I want this. Let me change you here.” When that happens, LISTEN! Agree with Him. STOP it already! Let it go. This has nothing to do with condemnation; it has everything to do with allowing Him to get the fly out of your ointment so you will be smelling good! He can do it. Let Him!
2. Get Over Yourself.
It’s not all about you! You’ve been through some stuff; so have we all. Let God take that junk – the mistakes or addiction or fear or sin or abuse or pain or whatever it is – and turn it into something whereby He can bless others. Don’t worry about how He will do it; just let Him have it all.
You know people who are always thinking about themselves. Do you like being around them? Don’t they stink? You don’t want that to be you. Instead, train yourself to focus on what God is doing in the lives of the people around you. Look for where you can support God’s work in their lives. God may well use your own healed-and-healing soul to do just that.
3. Keep Getting Filled Up.
You also know people who you can hardly wait to spend time with. They make you feel better just by being in their presence. They make you want to be a better version of yourself, and help you believe that you can get there.
That’s what you can do for others. The way to do that is to keep your own soul nourished by continually coming into God’s presence. That’s how Jesus was able to make it through the dirty world around Him still “smelling like a rose” and drawing everyone to Him. As God transforms you into the person He created you to be your fragrance will smell more and more like Jesus, and have the same effect as His did on everyone around you.
I want to smell good as a Christian. You do to.
Here’s to smelling more and more like Jesus!
Your Turn: What is your aroma to those around you? Do you need to put on some new heavenly perfume? Leave a comment below.
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