Have you ever walked past one of those ‘natural’ shops and had your nose hurt because of the scent overload? I can only spend so long in Lush or the Body Shop before my nose aches with the bombardment of wonderful fragrances. It’s sad because I love them, I love the bath bombs and the lotions and the hand wax and the foot massage cream. But the impact of all the scents in such concentration makes my nose feel like it has been scoured with wire wool. TMI? Everywhere we go there are scents in the air: coffee, chips (fries), garlic, air freshener to replace one scent with another, perfume, flowers, crunchy autumn leaves, sweat, garbage and on and on. Some people are apparently allergic to fragrances while others have psychological allergies – I dislike a particular perfume because it provokes memories of a particular person but the scent of one soap I love because it reminds me of my grandma.
I ask the potentially rude question ‘do you smell?’ because of these verses:
14 Yet I am so thankful to God, who always marches us to victory under the banner of the Anointed One; and through us He spreads the beautiful fragrance of His knowledge to every corner of the earth. 15 In a turbulent world where people are either dying or being rescued, we are the sweet smell of the Anointed to God our Father. 16 To those who are dying, they smell the stench of death in us. And to those being rescued, we are the unmistakable scent of life.
Did you know that? Were you aware that the Holy Spirit is not just a voice or a feeling but a fragrance that others pick up on? Have you been in a situation where someone takes an immediate dislike to you before you even speak a word? Maybe they smelled the stench of death on you.
I think there are levels of fragrance and most commonly it’s a spiritual effect. But that means it is demonstrated through my words and actions and being. If I carry the fragrance of abundant life then my life ought to be demonstrably abundant. My words can’t deny that truth by denying God’s promises. Either I have abundant life and show it in the overflowing of His grace and love or I make Him a liar and live a miserly life.
Being the stench of death sounds downright unpleasant. It’s hard to understand why that would be on me or in me. I wonder if it is not that the fragrance is different but their reaction is different? They recognise something and reject it. They turn away from God and rebel and so the smell that is life to one is death to another. This time I don’t match that fragrance I keep on exuding the abundant life I have been gifted in the hope that perhaps they might still turn and be saved.
Who doesn’t love to smell good? We spend money on body sprays and aftershave or cologne and perfumes. That’s all well and good providing we don’t overuse them ;). But spiritually we have a fragrance too. I know which scent I want to be predominant.
More of Jesus, more of His abundant life.