Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fragrance (10/24/05)
TITLE: The Fragrance of Christianity
By Diane L. Harris
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The account of the woman performing rose-perfumed feats is not the first rumor I’ve encountered about the working of wonders or the presence of angels being accompanied by sweet scents. Without first-hand knowledge or confirmation from the Bible, I think this may be wishful poeticism at work. Then again, if the Holy Spirit speaks with me, and has even let me feel Jesus holding my hand, why couldn’t He cause others to smell unseen roses? Maybe the recipients of certain miracles need the scent of flowers in order to understand that the same One who made the flowers made their miracles.
But more essential than the odor attending a few special acts, is the odor of our day-to-day deeds as they reach our Father in heaven. Is my life “a perfume that brings Christ to everyone?” When I roll on deodorant after my shower and mist on the scent of gardenias, exotic grasses, or white tea and ginger, I have a better chance of attracting people to me than if I remain unwashed and wallowing in bodily funk. But what must I do to attract the unsaved to Christ? How can I be the perfume on the Savior’s body (his church)?
What power does fragrance possess that should make us want to imitate it? Why did Paul claim that “God thinks of us as a perfume that brings Christ to everyone?”
A good fragrance attracts men, women, and children alike. It helps them enjoy your presence, and it lingers a bit when you leave, to make them miss you. Wearing fragrance makes people feel that you care enough to make yourself sweet for their benefit, and makes many wish to smell as good as you do. “What is that scent you’re wearing,” they’ll ask. They may buy your scent to feel better about themselves. Fragrance is a physical impression, but it affects the soul a little.
If I am a good follower of Christ, I will also attract men, women, and children who believe that I care enough to make myself sweet for their benefit. Not sweet in the physical, olfactory sense, but emanating a sweetness from my soul, touching the souls of those who need Christ.
How? Will it come to pass through prophesying, praying, or preaching? Will it happen by fasting, giving away my possessions, or by correcting the behavior of others?
All of the above can advance the will of God on earth, but Saint Paul states so vividly in 1 Corinthians 13:2 (CEV), “What if I could prophesy and understand all secrets and all knowledge? And what if I had faith that moved mountains? I would be nothing, unless I loved others.”
Love is the perfume I have to put on daily in order to win others to Christ. Love is the perfume I must share so that the lost want some for themselves. As the love of God was revealed to me through Jesus Christ, I must demonstrate Christ’s love to the world around me.
Now, love isn’t easy. Anyone with any human relationship whatsoever knows that for a fact. So, I have to submit myself daily to the will of God to let His love move through me. Love based on my ability couldn’t cause a puppy to follow me for long. Love based on the ability of God is boundless, unconditional, and as difficult to hide as it is to resist. It smells sweet to the spirit.
Who knows? Maybe the smell of love can occasionally be perceived as the scent of roses, if one’s spirit is very sensitive. William Shakespeare wrote, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” and he was probably right. But sweeter still is the fragrance of Christian love, leading indeed to a better life - God’s eternal rose garden.
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