Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fragrance (10/24/05)
TITLE: Do You Stink? (i)
By Doug Laird
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While I found the title of this article to be humorous, it brings its readers right to the heart of the spiritual issue of this article.
Providing an individual is advancing in the post-salvation spiritual life that follows salvation, he/she will emit a spiritual aroma that will be detected by both believers and unbelievers alike.
“…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 (2Cor. 2: 14, 15 NIV).”
This fragrance will be pleasant to some and offensive to others.
“To the one we are the smell of death; to the other the fragrance of life…(2Cor. 2: 16 NIV).”
In the natural realm, we tend to seek out and preserve the scents that appeal to us and avoid the odors that we find offensive. The same can be said about the aromas of the spiritual realm.
The aroma of the Word Of God can be offensive to the unbelievers regarding the Gospel Message, and offensive to “born again (John 3: 3 NIV)” believers who are struggling with issues of sanctification or discipleship.
When mature believers meet and/or associate with like-minded believers, their relationship is one that surpasses issues of gender, race, age, education, social-economic status, nationality, ancestral origins, political affiliations, and geographic locations.
Be their interaction one of an educating, encouraging, or comforting (1Cor. 14: 3) nature, it is the Lord Jesus Christ who is inevitably being glorified as fellow-believers mutually share and meditate upon the “…mind of Christ (1Cor. 2: 16 NIV).” “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27: 17 NIV).”
However, just as in the case of a good perfume or cologne, too much can be overbearing and counterproductive.
When we fail to share Bible Doctrine in a manner of “ gentleness and respect (1Pet.3: 15 NIV)”, our fragrance can come on too strong. The fragrance of judgment or arrogance may cause others to avoid us and thereby be used by Satan to intercept the wisdom we otherwise might have shared with them.
Now comes the “bottom line” question. Do you stink?
Does the fragrance of your daily personal witness attract or repel others from God and the things of God?
It is my personal conviction that every person we meet and interact with is encouraged to go in one direction or another. We are not ships just passing in the night.
When others observe you and hear your speech, do they see Christ in you (John 3: 30)? Do you speak your mind based on feelings and/or human viewpoint, or the “...mind of Christ (1Cor. 2: 16 NIV)?”
Is the aroma you emit different from the aroma of your unbelieving friends, co-workers, and family members?
Beware of the pitfall of approbation! “Woe to you when men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets (Luke 6:26 NIV).”
Do others detect the scent of legalism and works or faith and grace? Has contact with the devil’s world rendered the fragrance of your faith indiscernible?
As we noted earlier, if your fragrance is of a divine nature, it will be pleasant to some and offensive to others.
While most of us have no problems when it comes to letting our lights shine in the presence of like-minded believers, many of us “tone it down” when others inevitably find our aroma objectionable.
There is a fine line between being needlessly offensive and telling it like it is (Gal.4: 16), as our discipleship requires.
The stronger our spiritual fragrance becomes, the more sensitive the reaction that others will have to it.
Those who receive it as the “fragrance of life (2Cor. 2: 16 NIV)” will want to know it’s Name and where they can obtain it for themselves.
Those who reject it and perceive it to be the “smell of death (2Cor. 2: 16 NIV)” will not only become uneasy in its presence, but will attack (Matt.7: 6) the ones who offer it to them as well.
Do you stink?
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