A Signature Scent

Thursday, February 22, 2018
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2 Corinthians 2:15-16a – For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. (NIV)

I was delighted when a friend returned from vacation in Florida and presented me with a large seashell. I immediately put it to my nose. Most people would put it to their ear, listening for the sea. But I am hard of hearing, and to put something against my hearing aid results in feedback, a high-pitched squeal that is startling. I knew that I wouldn't hear the sea, imaginary or otherwise. But could I smell it? I took a good sniff.

Whether or not there was a subtle salt-water smell, my imagination immediately transported me to a sandy beach. I pictured a turquoise ocean, hot sun, palm trees flapping in the breeze. I gently swayed in a hammock and sipped a cold drink from half a coconut with a tiny paper umbrella — a welcome scene on a cold, snowy day! No other gift could have brought me so much pleasure.

Coconut also connects me to pleasant sunny days. My toiletries contain coconut oil. I burn candles with the same fragrance. When I loaned my watch to my daughter in college, each time she leaned her chin on her hand she received a mental picture of me. Eventually, she realized that it was because my signature scent was embedded in the watch.

I have another identifying fragrance, too. A Christian carries the recognizable scent of Jesus. We Christians embrace it, and it often causes us to recognize a kindred spirit in someone we've never met before. On the other hand, it's offensive to non-believers. We smell like death to them.

Though we're unable to smell it physically, this spiritual aroma is the fragrance of an offering. We have come to the cross and put our old self to death. God is making us new, in the likeness of His Son. On earth, Jesus spent much of His life surrounded by clouds of incense and animal sacrifices that smelled like a barbecue. His own body was anointed with myrrh, spices, and perfumes. As we grow closer and become more like Jesus, we adopt this scent, a sweet smell to God.

Have you ever met someone and immediately felt rejected? Did you wonder what you could possibly have done to offend? The answer is that they can smell you, and they don't like the picture that it brings to mind. But the apostle Paul tells us that "We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body" (2 Corinthians 4:10 NIV). Don't be dismayed if you are rejected. We can be assured that Jesus' life is at work in us.

2 Corinthians 2:14 – But thanks be to God, who … through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. (NIV)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, use us to spread Your fragrance around the world so that others can know You. Amen.

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About the author:

JJ Ollerenshaw <sandjollie86@gmail.com>
Belleville, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    May it be so JJ.

    Totally sweet! Yes, so many memories!

    I read the meditation every day and am really inspired by them.

    What a wonderful picture you created with this devotional. Thank you.

    What a fascinating idea which I have never thought of before.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Enjoyed this devotional today JJ. Thanks for sharing your thought.

    Ah yes, better the scent of Christ than my own! No one really wants to be downwind of me on a sweaty day. Thanks JJ for sharing this devotional with us. Blessings.

    Dear JJ
    Thank you for your lovely devotional.
    I had really never thought of this before. I am grateful for your wisdom.
    May our Great Lord bless to you and yours immensely.

    Thanks for this devotional and it makes ‘scence’ to me…. I met this couple a few weeks ago and it was strange her reaction to me. I noticed different times she would be looking at me as if trying to figure something out, she ignored me the rest of the evening even though we were eating at the same table and she was across from me and over one person. but after reading this devotional I can figure this must have been what was happening.
    God bless.

    Amen JJ.

    Thank you for writing. I loved your devotional and the message you wrote. I had never thought of smells, fragrance or odor in that way before. Very interesting.

    Dear JJ,
    A beautiful and thorough treatise on a Christian’s fragrance!
    We must pray and take care to exude the fragrance of Jesus Christ.
    I pray that we will do so without offence and with an attraction to our Lord that becomes irresistible because of his immense uniqueness as the Son of God.
    Keep writing.

    Well done J.J.
    Today I read your devotional. Cardinal Newman wrote a favourite prayer of mine that speaks of spreading Jesus fragrance everywhere we go – and I believe it to be true. But what you have done through your devotional is to have added insight and real plausibility (for those skeptics) behind this ‘notion’ of carrying Jesus fragrance everywhere we go. I so enjoyed reading your devotional today and can now be ready with scriptures and an antidote to support the fragrance of Jesus concept. Thanks for sharing your insights. I for one have been blessed by your words today.
    Blessings to you.

    This is a new concept I haven’t given any thought to, Sandi. Thanks for the thought provoking devotional. I have occasionally felt a type of rejection from someone and wondered what I had done. I never associated it with your idea and, now that you mention it, that person was an unbeliever. Certainly food for thought.

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