I couldn't wait to light the candle. Crafted from red wax that had been poured into a tin pan, it looked like a cherry pie. According to the lady who sold me the candle, it smelled as good as it looked.
Holding it to my nose, unlit, I definitely got a whiff of cherry pie. It was faint, but hey-just wait until I put some fire to it! The whole house would smell like Grandma's kitchen the day before a family reunion. For sure, people would think I'd formed a partnership with the Pillsbury Doughboy.
As it turned out...it's good thing that candle wasn't a real pie. Certain to be voted "Least Likely to Win a Blue Ribbon", it would have sparked as much excitement as starting a diet of dry toast and tap water.
Oh, it looked nice and burned well-it did what candles do. But where was the rich aroma that made people stop and take notice? That made people say, "Hey, where did you get that?"
This almost-unscented candle reminded me of Christians who don't let their lights shine...or in this case, don't let their scents smell.
As Christians, we are, you know, supposed to smell.
"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." (2 Corinthians 2:14-15, NIV)
I recall times in my Christian walk when I've done "what Christians do." I've attended church, worked my shift at the Children's Consignment Sale and sifted through boxes for the Annual Bazaar. I've taken meals to shut-ins, taught Vacation Bible School and done my best to live right.
But beneath the activity, I was just like that candle-barely scented. For whatever reason-usually too much stress and busyness, not enough prayer and Bible study-my fruits of the spirit weren't sweetening the air.
"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5: 22-23, NIV)
I remember a Bible study leader once talking about the fruit of the spirit. As she did, she walked about the room, cradling a bowl of green, juicy-scented grapes in her arms. Occasionally, she would pause in her lesson to savor one of those luscious grapes, while the rest of us salivated in our folding chairs.
"Oh, you want some?" she finally asked us, holding out the bowl.
As we pounced on her like dogs on steak, she mused, "That's the thing about the fruit of the spirit. When you've got it---everybody wants it."
My cherry pie candle, despite all appearances, didn't draw anyone with its scent. It became...just another candle.
My blackberry candle, on the other hand, permeated the house with its refreshing, fruity fragrance, always prompting visitors to inhale deeply, release an "ahhhhhhhh" then say,
"HEY-WHERE DID YOU GET THAT???"
Our fruit of the spirit should be as scented as that blackberry candle. If it is, people will want to know why we...well, smell...so good!
And that's an opportunity to share the fragrance of the knowledge of God...and the sweet, sweet aroma of our savior.
In regards to my fruit of the spirit, if I ever ask someone: "Tell me the truth-do I smell?", I hope they'll answer with an honest:
"Yes ma'am-and they can smell you to high Heaven!"
(c) Donna G. Morton 2005
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