Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.
2 Corinthians 2:15
Gardenias are one of my favorite flowers, mostly because of their sweet fragrance. Preferences about fragrances differ, though. I have a neighbor who detests plants like gardenias because of that same sweet smell.
Although I disagree, the reason for our dispute has nothing to do with the appearance of the flower, rather the characteristics of its scent. Aromatic flowers like gardenias have what I call in your face fragrance. A fragrance detected before you even see them, and one that grows stronger the closer in proximity you get. When around gardenias, you either love them or not, because their aroma is distinctive and pervasive.
My bouquet of gardenias
I recently brought home a fresh-cut bouquet into our home, but had to move it from where I had it in the dining room to our sunroom. Their scent can literally take over the air around them, and since taste involves the sense of smell, our food was beginning to taste like gardenias! I don’t want them in my salad, but I still love them and look forward to their blooms each summer.
The Fragrance of Christ is Distinct
Our lives as Believers should emit an equally distinctive and pervasive fragrance of Christ-likeness. Our walk with the Lord should differ so from that of unbelievers that it is blatant. No one should doubt to Whom we belong, because of the fruit of the Spirit, so vividly on display in our lives that even strangers spot the difference when we walk in the room. The closer others get, the more evident the aroma of Christ. At least, that is how we should live.
Arguably, though, we all fail in allowing the fragrance of Christ to pervade our daily walk. Many times, instead of a sweet aroma, we emit the stench of the old Adam by letting self-control quench a Spirit-led life. Then, we merely blend in with the world around us. Hindered is the sweet aroma of Christ, with its life-giving distinctiveness for a lost and dying world.
God knew we would struggle. That is why He gave us the Holy Spirit, who continually changes us to resemble Christ. Even in our frailty, God uses us as conduits of His aroma to the world. Unfortunately, not all respond.
The Fragrance of Christ Confronts
Just as opinions vary on fragrances, the same holds true with the aroma of Christ. It is the same kind of in your face scent. When confronted with the presence and truth of Christ, it either attracts or repels. Others either accept the Christ in us or refuse Him. They either love Him or not.
I love gardenias so much that I have a hard time comprehending why others do not. To me, their fragrance is nothing short of heavenly. I love the Lord so much that I struggle grasping why not everyone does. His fragrance is heavenly, for Jesus was heaven-sent. He wants the world to taste and see that He is good, but what is good to taste must first start with a savory aroma.
Does your life routinely emit the fragrance of Christ?
Let us each be increasingly mindful of how our lives are a fragrance rising up to God, and grow by allowing the Spirit to emit His sweet aroma to those around us.
In my next post, I will share some more gardenia photos and relate another reason I love them so much.