oops…I did it again. I forgot to work on this after church yesterday and didn’t get it done. Here’s yesterday’s post today. Today’s post will be later.
Proverbs 6-7 2 Corinthians 2
“To those who are lost, we are the smell of death that brings death, but to those who are being saved, we are the smell of life that brings life. So who is able to do this work?” (2 Corinthians 2:16 NCV)
One of the hardest things to describe when writing is aroma. If you research religious practices, though, you’ll see that aroma plays an important part of many religions. In Judaism, the sacrifices offered are supposed to make a pleasing aroma to God. In fact, there are recipes for incense in the Old Testament that were designed to be used in worship – some to be used only in worship and not at any other time. That which wasn’t from God was described as “strange incense.” Nadab and Abihu were condemned for offering “strange incense,” and such an offering was forbidden in the Bible. Of course, any Texan who really thought about the sacrifices and the aroma would realize that the aroma was obviously pleasing: it smelled like barbecue! When Paul talked about our aroma, to those who are lost and to those who are being saved, the Corinthians understood the concept.
Paul turned the concept of pleasing aromas around, though, and noted that His sacrifice for us would be an aroma to those in the world. For those who were being saved, the aroma would be full of life; for those who were perishing, the smell would be death. If you’re wondering how an aroma could be the sweet smell of life to some, and the smell of death to others, let me share a confession: I don’t like bacon. The smell of bacon turns my stomach. Most people I know smell bacon cooking and their hearts start racing as they think about eating that bacon. Me, I want fresh air. Maybe, by God’s power, that will change. I don’t think so. That helps me to understand that sometimes people don’t want to hear what I have to say about Jesus. Rather than pound the gospel into their head and reinforce their belief that the gospel is a bad aroma, I need to show them that the gospel is life. As they become accustomed to being around me, and as they see the joy I have because of my life with Jesus, their perception might change, and they’ll recognize the presence of God in me like a pleasant aroma and be willing to listen. There’s no sweeter aroma than the grace of God. Our job isn’t to blow smoke in people’s eyes, though, it’s to draw them to the good news of Jesus through lives honoring Him and words spoken in the right way at the right time.
Lord, I deal with so many people every day. To some, the grace I talk about is like a pleasing aroma; to others, it is the stench of death. Let my life reflect Your grace so well that people begin to anticipate that they’ll experience Your grace when they see me.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.