But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)
This is quite the thought — rarely thought about, hardly believed: Our lives give off a fragrance. Once again, this is something we are not aware of. This is something going on all the time without our knowledge, mainly because it is not for us.
The fragrance, or aroma, that our lives give off is primarily for God. We are told here exactly what the fragrance is and who it’s for. The fragrance is Christ, and the fragrance is first of all for God, and only secondly for those around us.
Did you know that right now, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, your life is a sweet aroma to God? God looks “down” from heaven and smells you, and that is because Christ is in you.
When we believe and are baptized, Christ is born in us through the Holy Spirit. From that moment on, God is pleased with us, because Christ is in us. In this sense, Christ never left. When He was here in the flesh, He told His disciples He would have to leave, but only so He could send His Spirit to live in us and God will forever be pleased with that.
Stop everything you are doing, lean back, put your hands in your lap and say to yourself: “I am pleasing to God. As I sit here doing nothing but meditating on this, I am pleasing to God.” No truer thing was ever spoken. This is not because you are such a good person. This is not because you are being so obedient and living the life He wants you to live. The fragrance doesn’t get stronger when you are good and weaker when you are bad. The fragrance is there simply because Christ is in you, and God smells Christ in you, and smiles. He is pleased to still have Christ on this earth in the hearts and lives of those who believe in Him. We’re not talking about discipleship here, we’re not talking about winning people for Christ, we’re not talking about living a life that is pleasing to God; we’re talking about something that is true as you sit there today, whether you are blowing it or not, this is going on. And this is a big enough thing to make Paul full of thanks to God regardless of his situation.
Now, because this is going on, people around you are effected, but that is only secondary to the point. This thing is going on in you between Christ and God, and because of that, others can sense something about you, and they will be either drawn to it or repelled by it. You are a spiritual magnet, and depending on the polarity of those around you, some will be attracted to you and others will be pushed away. And what can you do about this? Nothing.
The point of this truth is not to have you do anything about it. The point is awareness. Paul wants us to be aware of this. He wants us to know that we are having an effect in the world wherever we go, whatever we are doing — even when we are blowing it. Remember that was the context of this — Paul’s missed an opportunity for the gospel — and yet, he is still having an effect anyway. Most of it is for God; some of it is for the people around him, but all of it is triggered by the Spirit of God in him, and nothing he can start, stop or enhance.
Remember, the new covenant is nothing from us and everything from God. Here God is carrying out this incredible drama in you, with or without your knowledge, and it’s big enough to know that this is why you were put here on this earth: so Christ can continue to be on earth in you and through you. That is the new covenant.
21 Day Challenge:
In the Roman triumphal parade we talked about yesterday, to the prisoners in chains following the conquering general’s chariot, the fragrance of the incense was an odor of death. But to those who were part of the army, and to the citizens of Rome who had been spared the threat to the city, that fragrance was a fragrance of life.
- Ever find yourself frustrated, trying through your feeble efforts to do something for God, only to find out God was doing something in you all along? We all do. Tell us a story where you can laugh at yourself, trying to do something for God – when all along it was God doing something through you, that He led in triumph by Jesus Christ at the very moment of your frustration.
- Tell a story when you were aware someone was either being attracted or repelled by the aroma of Christ in you.
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