I live in the city now but I was raised in the country. I love the countryside however I never really liked some of the smells associated with country living.
I have to hold my breath when entering a barn, it’s just unpleasant. I remember the days when the wind shifted direction and the smell of the pig barn at my grandfather’s wafted into the house. It wasn’t pleasant either. But for other people those are the smells of things familiar and homey. Smell is a powerful sense.
The Bible talks a lot more about smells, aromas and fragrances than you would probably guess. In the Old Testament the sacrificial worship involved not just following the right rituals but incorporating the right aromas into the offering. Offerings that were presented in the right way were a pleasing fragrance before God.
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians that our Christian lives smell. Not that we are stinky but our life gives off a spiritual scent, an aroma. We can’t hide it. “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.” (2 Corinthians 2:15,16)
Our lives are an offering before God, an aroma that is pleasing to him. But others can sense it as well. Some people like it and others don’t. Some people are interested in our spiritual life, our walk with Christ and want to know more. Others treat us like we haven’t had a shower in a month and want nothing to do with anyone who is Christian.
What makes the difference between these two groups? Well, it’s not us, according to Paul it’s them. Some people will find our lives a pleasant smell, a fragrance, which makes them want to come closer to Jesus. Others will be repelled because of the condition of their heart. We can’t determine their response.
Some people will be attracted to your Christian walk and others will be disgusted. Don’t take it personally. If you are truly living for Jesus then it’s the aroma of Christ they are rejecting and not you. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can stop praying for them. You never know, their sinuses might just clear up one day and they’ll ask you what that wonderful smell is.