Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 2:15
I smelled it as soon as I opened the door. When God made us, He did a really good job. In one place His Word says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. In another it says that we are made just a little lower than the angels. And then at the beginning He says that we are made in His image. Wow…that is all pretty impressive. When God was working on our blueprint, He decided to give us five senses—five ways to interact with our world around us. Those five senses are touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste. All five of them are incredible and it is almost impossible to pick one over the other. For a foodie like me, it would seem that taste would be my number one, but I’m just not sure.
If smell isn’t number one, it certainly is a close second. Smell enhances our taste and can trigger so many different emotions. Smell can change what is going on in a whole room. Many years ago, I went through a period when I had—oh, I hate to admit it—stinky feet. It was bad. We had some good friends and we were frequently at their house. To this day, I am in the habit of taking off my shoes when I am in the house. I think it is a throwback to my Southern genes. Anyway, when I got to these folks’ house, I would kick my shoes off and what was in the shoes suddenly spread throughout the room. It wasn’t pretty. I’m trying to say, it was really bad.
Within minutes, perhaps seconds, moans and groans filled the air along with the atrocious odor. There was an immediate rebellion and demands to stuff my stinky feet back into my shoes. I had no choice. The good news is that it turns out there was something about my walk-around, everyday shoes that caused the odor. When I changed shoes, the offensive odor went with them. But to this day, I (and maybe you) should be aware that certain things can cause certain reactions—and they are not always good. But, fortunately sometimes they are.
Enter Bath and Body “Leaves” candles. You probably know that Bath and Body is famous for several things but their three wick candles are—well, wicked. And one of our favorite scents is “Leaves.” It is just the essence of fall. During this time of the year I can walk into my house after a long day and as soon as I open the door a sense of calm and “all-things-good” just washes over me. I love it. Try as I may, I can’t describe it—it is just good. And then it happens.
Slowly, the longer I stay in the area where the candle is, the rich aroma of fall suddenly disappears. That smell that made me feel so relaxed seems to mysteriously disappear. But wait—don’t lose hope. If I go back outside, if I go upstairs and come back—it comes back. Once again, the rich aroma of fall invades my senses and I am changed. This cycle goes on hour after hour and day after day. In the mornings, I like another candle in my home office. It is called Teakwood Mahogany. It is a man candle. After a few minutes…I smell nothing. Judy opens the door and comes into my office and is instantly overwhelmed—almost offended—by the strong smell. Amazing.
The truth is, it can be dangerous. It isn’t dangerous if it is the scent of a candle, but what if it is the scent of love in your marriage? What if it is the scent of faith in your Dearest Daddy? What if it is the scent of contentment—in all things being well? If and when that happens—it becomes dangerous. When the aroma of life becomes like stinky feet or as bland as an unscented candle—well, it can and will lead down paths that we don’t want or need to take. Marriages go south, faith downs in fear, and discontentment creeps into every corner of our lives. At best we become unhappy, but worse, we began to throw away the things most precious to us. I am certain that in this COVID hot mess some of the things most precious to us have been cast aside like leftover food. Last night’s spaghetti becomes today’s stinky garbage. We must beware.
I think, like leaving the room refreshes the aroma, we need to keep moving. We must avoid becoming stagnate. You know what happens to a stream that stops flowing don’t you? It becomes a slimy pit. So, we need to find ways to keep our marriages, our faith, our contentment, fresh, by stirring our lives with His grace—with His presence. We have to make sure the aroma we are giving off is pleasant and not “stinky feet.”
Paul, one of the Bible writer guys, says, “Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.” Well said, Paul, well said. What kind of aroma are you sharing with your family, your church, your workplace, your neighborhood? Is it the sweet smell of love, faith and contentment, or is it the atrocious odor of self and sin? I know one of the best things I ever did was ditch those shoes. Bye, bye stinky feet. What do we need to get rid of so we won’t be offensive but rather be welcoming? Nothing smells as sweet in our lives like the aroma of Jesus. So, sit down, pull off your shoes and rest with Him. He’s got this.