The Sense of Smell

I haven’t worn cologne in a number of years. I keep meaning to find a scent I like but I always find other things to spend my money on. When I read a novel in which the female protagonist smells like wisteria or a biography that mentions fond memories of a mother who’s scent was lavender, I almost feel guilty that I can’t claim a signature cologne that leaves fond memories of me!

This morning I was reading in 2 Corinthians where Paul tells the church: “we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are saved and those who are perishing…the fragrance of life”. Now there’s a fragrance I’d like to wear daily. The passage goes on: “You show that you are a letter from Christ…written not with ink but with the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

I’ve read that the sense of smell brings back more memories than our other senses. And so our heart is pierced when a familiar smell takes us back to a fond or sad memory. The smell of pine needles gives me joy in part because vacations in the woods created glorious memories for me. My mom had a hard time with the smell of gardenias for some time because there were so many of them at her father’s funeral.

But the aroma of Christ is a fragrance of life! 2 Corinthians 2:6 tells us “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”.

A friend recently told me that they can’t get into the Bible and what she called a Jesus obsession, because there’s enough to deal with in life without feeling guilty and having to analyze every little thing. She doesn’t know that the Spirit gives life! It’s no longer about the laws we’re expected to keep in spite of being incapable of keeping them perfectly. It’s about abundant life full of the love of Jesus! It’s about freedom from serving the “every little thing”.

How exciting it is that God sees us as the aroma of Christ. He’s entrusted us to be his hands, feet, arms, and lips of mercy, justice, love and freedom. So it’s true after all, the fragrance we wear is important!

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