July 2, 2012 - How Ya’ Smellin’?
How Ya’ Smellin’?
July 2, 2012
By Don McGarvey
Ever had a time when you were hot and sweaty? You had worked really hard — muscles straining, teeth gritted, and sweat pouring off your body. And when you were done and relaxed just a little, you noticed something. Something didn’t smell right. To be honest, something stank — and it was you!
I’ve heard some folks claim that by the time they hit the shower they could hardly stand themselves. I’m pretty sure this is not part of the plan to win friends and influence people.
Do you wonder if that was what Paul had in mind when he wrote 2 Corinthians 2:14-16: “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life” (NIV).
The truth of the matter is, all of us have a unique “aroma.” I’ve walked into rooms after certain individuals have entered and could smell their cologne or their perfume. I knew they were there or had been there without seeing them. I could smell them.
I’ve also shaken hands or hugged folks only to walk away from them smelling like their perfume or cologne. Sometimes, to be honest, it was pleasant. At other times, I’ve started sneezing.
Smells are great reminders as well. I can smell certain foods being prepared and immediately be taken back to my childhood standing in one of my grandmother’s kitchens. This past Christmas Day, my boys asked their grandmother to fix fried chicken for our Christmas dinner. Standing in the kitchen, enjoying the smell of my mom’s fried chicken took me back to my childhood when we ate so much fried chicken because it was cheap meat. But when Mom got done fixing it, it was a meal fit for a king.
Physically each of us has a unique odor about us. We also have a spiritual aroma about us. How we smell is up to us. We can be the aroma of God, a pleasing aroma that communicates Christ to others. Our lives can also carry “fragrances” that displease our Savior. The choice is always ours. How we choose to live our lives will dictate the aroma we emit.
Peter wrote in his letter that we should “live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:12).
He also wrote, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). If you will allow me to paraphrase this verse, it might read as, “Always be prepared to explain why you smell so good to those who are used to the bad smells of this life.”
Let’s change the way our world smells. Let’s be the aroma of Christ — the smell of life and not the smell of death.
— Don McGarvey lives in Hiawatha, Iowa, and is the World Missions director of the Iowa Ministry Network (Assemblies of God).