Read His Words Before Ours!
I catch Ms. Eileen out of the corner of my eye as we sing the chorus to “Only King Forever.”
You are the only King forever
Almighty God we lift You higher
You are the only King forever
Forevermore, You are victorious
Ms. Eileen is the older sister/motherly type figure in my life and my children’s. She is the one my husband refers to as “The hugging bandit”.
She is coming my way and I know what she wants and will lovingly give: the biggest, tightest hug one can take without choking.
My one son, who is not the touchy-feely type, jokes that Ms. Eileen could kill someone with her hug. My other son, however, gleefully smiles with open arms, eager to receive her gift.
When Ms. Eileen is seated, the scent of her lingers in the air, on my shirt, and on my son’s head. It is the fragrance of Ms. Eileen.
It is the aroma she carries on her and sweetly leaves behind.
As I read 2 Corinthians 2 of believers being the aroma of Christ, carrying the fragrance of life or death depending on whether the recipient has trusted Jesus, is seeking Him, or has turned away, I think of Ms. Eileen.
Scent-wearers carry with them an odor, some more pleasant and welcoming than others. *For the record, I am quite fond of Ms. Eileen’s fragrance. 😉
Maybe you’ve had a similar experience where someone wearing a strong fragrance embraces you and then you “smell” that person on you the rest of the day. In similar lingering fashion, the gospel brings a lasting fragrance of either life or death.
This aroma of Christ is something we, as believers, ARE, not necessarily something we do.
It is, however, directly correlated with the message we profess and the hope we offer to others through the gospel.
God delighted in creating Adam and Eve and provided everything they needed for life, even boundary lines by which they would know their lives were intended for worship to the Lord. God gave one command: do not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:16-17).
Man, deceived by God’s enemy and his own desire to rule over himself instead of trusting God’s good love for him, sinned against God and crossed into disobedience. (Genesis 3)
By trusting in the atonement of Jesus, man receives forgiveness of sins and is given the gift of eternal life with God, forever dwelling in perfect communion with Him (Romans 10:9).
As Christians, we are called to both
declare these truths
and live this hope.
In this way, others catch the waft of Christ’s fragrance.
The people within the walls of our home are the ones receiving a front-row seat to this dramatic, fragrant affect.
The pleasing fragrance intensifies as we devote time to studying God’s Word and conversing with Him in prayer. Its aromatic tendrils extend towards those we love, first for the ones at home, who are the first witnesses of our dedication to the living God and His active Word.
Its attractiveness is found in the soft answer we return to harsh words.
It’s on display as we patiently endure through suffering, both in everyday trials and intense life-storms.
Its winsome delight is displayed in our willing surrender of our preference to another’s and as forgiveness is extended before apologies are even made.
In these ways we emit the aroma of Christ.
Eyes are watching.
Hearts are witnessing.
How deeply do we love the Savior?
To those in our homes and families for whom the veil is being lifted (2 Corinthians 3:15), witnessing our life and hearing our hope is the beginning of sight for them!
But, it is a hard, hard reality to accept that for some within our families,
the fragrance of Christ we embody will be to them the stench of death.
Our motives will be questioned.
Our meekness, mocked.
Our “religion” considered a crutch.
And, it will sting.
I imagine it stung deeply for Samson’s parents, too, when the boy they were gifted deceived his parents, denied his consecration, and followed after his fleshly desires rather than God’s purposes for his life.
As a mother of two teens and one tween-ager, I have a different vantage point reading Samson’s story than when I read it as a child. Now I see through the eyes of Samson’s parents, and my heart breaks for the years they surely spent in travail for the wayward choices of their son. I imagine (because the Scripture doesn’t say) them appealing to Samson, pleading with God, angling to arrange God-fearers to influence Samson to turn from his selfish, arrogant pursuits and dedicate his life afresh to the God Who set him apart from birth.
We know the end of Samson’s story.
We know the faith of his parents eventually became his own.
We know Samson turned to God in the final moments of his life. And, though his eyes were gouged out, Samson finally was granted sight.
He saw God for Who He is: The Only One with infinite power to both destroy and save.
The One who longs for all to find life and so He tarries patiently.
All of us, however, are still in the middle of both our stories and others’.
Our children, parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles; all of our family members are either carriers of the aroma of Christ or catching whiffs of us.
For those in our families, whether unbeliever or Christ-follower, we live out love, travail in prayer, and proclaim with our lives and tongues the greatest news ever given!
Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong
They are weak but he is strong
Yes, Jesus loves me
Oh, yes Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me for the Bible tells me so
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!