Listen to this devotional:
2 Corinthians 2:14-17 – But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. (ESB)
When I cycle in to work, I pass by a woodshed where pallets of sawn wood of various lengths and thicknesses are stacked and kept dry. Sometimes when I pass by and the wind is blowing from the right direction, the lovely fragrance of pine wafts over me.
I grew up with pine trees in our garden. I can still remember the difficulty of removing the pine resin after I had gleefully climbed the trees and it had stuck to my hands. It was a time of growing. I was a bit of a handful. I still am, but God loves me and meets me where I am.
This all-pervading smell of pine prompted these questions: When we wake up and greet the day, do we smile, or grimace? How do we perceive ourselves? Do we allow the fragrance of Jesus to permeate deep into our lives to bring His grace and to wash our sins away, or do we focus on our shortcomings? Do we rest in and enjoy God's company, or have we become nodding acquaintances who pass Jesus by in the morning or evening, and like work-day commuters, greet Jesus: "Hello — goodbye — catch you later"?
How deep does our faith go? Jesus wants all of us: all the hopes, foibles, sins, and secrets, so that He can redeem us, encourage us, and grow us. Through us, He will be the fragrance of life to the living and a challenge to those seeking life.
Are we ready to be vessels, cleansed by the blood of Jesus, capable of carrying the fragrance of Jesus to others? Have we allowed God's love to penetrate past the surface, so that the aroma of Jesus remains? Will it linger with others after we have moved on — or have we become commuters conformed to the world's mould?
Prayer: Lord, we come to You in humility and hope, seeking that You will restore us — not because we are something special, but because we know You are the Son of God. We ask You to consecrate us, so that we may be vessels fit to carry Your holy presence with us as we go. Holy Spirit, may Your fragrance splash over into the places You take us to today. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.