Isn’t it amazing how certain smells evoke strong memories?
When I was a girl, I was fortunate to have my grandmother live right next door to our family. She had a real wood burning fireplace in her living room (unlike the fake electric one I have now). Often my cousins and I would sleep over at Grandma’s house. On those chilly mornings when the weather had turned, she would have a fire going when we got up. I can still remember the cozy warmth of her house and the joy filled memories I made there. One of those memories is the smell of the fireplace burning, beckoning me to crawl out of bed, grab a blanket, and join her on the couch to sit by the fire.
Even now, when I smell a fireplace, or even a firepit, that scent takes me back. It summons warm thoughts and memories. The scent draws me back to memories of her love.
2 Corinthians 2:15 says “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea that we carry with us the pleasing aroma of Jesus to those who are being saved, as well as to those who are perishing.
If you’ve ever spent time around a camping fire, you know that the smell of smoke stays on you until you come home and wash those clothes. As you unpack the duffle from camping, you get a whiff of that smoke, and suddenly the memories of the campout come rushing back. Here in Second Corinthians, it’s the same idea.
Those around us, inside and outside of the faith, can “smell” us. We carry with us the pleasing aroma of Jesus. When Christ is in us, and we are following Him, His “scent” is on us.
This idea was played out for me for the first time when I was 16 years old. There was a girl in my high school, who was just different. Her family was much like mine. She had a mom, a dad, and a brother at home. She was my same age and grade. We were both on the drill team for our high school. She had some of the same friends and interests that I did. But she “smelled” different. There was something about her that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
We started hanging out and eventually I asked her to sleep over at my house. She said yes, that she would come and sleep over, if I would go to church with her the next morning.
There it was. That was the beginning of my understanding more precisely what it was about her that was so different than me. She had faith in God. And though I had grown up with a good, loving, all American family, faith was not a part of our household. And I wanted it. I was drawn to her in a way that I didn’t understand then.
And because of her “scent”, her faith in Jesus, I was also drawn to Him.
Ephesians 5:1-2 “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
You and I are called to walk with Jesus, to follow His example. To be like Him. It is a tall order to be sure, but He left us with the Holy Spirit, who also lives in us. And it is that same spirit that produces the lingering scent of Jesus in us.
When Jesus comes into our hearts and lives, we are changed. Some parts of us change immediately, and others take longer. But we are changed. And from that moment on, we begin to “smell” differently.
Like the soft scent of our favorite perfume, we leave behind the aroma of Jesus as we go.
My hearts desire is that the aroma of Jesus that follows me as I go, attracts others to the Savior. Because, just as perfumes can smell differently on the different people who wear them, the scent of Jesus can be attractive, or pungent.
Are my actions, thoughts, and words pleasant? Do they draw people to Him with the soft scent? Or am I too much like the world to be a pleasing aroma? Am I different at all?
As we continually grow, and allow Jesus to change us on the inside, that change will show on the outside too. We have hope, we have life! Like a fragrant perfume, I want to radiate the aroma of Jesus and let His scent trail behind me as I go.
And my prayer is that that scent will linger in the air and draw people to Him.
What scent are you leaving behind?
Jesus, I am drawn to You and to Your love. I am so grateful for all that You are. You have given everything for me, and I want to share that love with those in my circle. Help me to give off the pleasing aroma of Your love. I want to bring You honor by living in a way that “smells” good to others. Amen.