Smelling Good For God

Sunday, January 2, 2022
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Listen while you read: "Hallelujah Chorus"1 (Lyrics)

2 Corinthians 2:15 – Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. (NLT)

Having been antique collectors and dealers for several years, my wife and I love the smell of "old".

How does "old" smell? Perhaps only those who deal with old things can tell. When I open a book published in the 1800s, I smell "old". When I bought an old oak desk and brought it home, I opened the drawers to the aroma of "old". "Smell this," I said to my wife. Recently, we inherited my mother's first china cabinet. Opening the bottom two doors, my wife remarked, "This smells old."

While we like things that smell old, we don't necessarily want our home to smell old. And it can't, because it's not old. My wife has air fresheners in almost every room, normally along with a few candles. When all are lit or plugged in, a variety of fragrances float through the air, touching every piece of furniture and clothes. We don't necessarily perceive it while there, but if we leave, we notice that our clothes smell like our house.

In today's verse, Paul writes that our lives are a Christlike fragrance that ascends to God. Just as my wife and I have fragrances that we adore — old being one of them — so God does as well. There are some air fresheners that we won't buy because the aroma repels us. God has special fragrances that He enjoys, too. Not all that rise to Him will receive a "That smells good" response.

God loves the fragrance of holiness. He is holy, and He expects the same aroma from His children. While we are given the fragrance of righteousness (holiness) when we trust Christ as our Saviour, it takes effort on our part — as well as reliance on God's indwelling Spirit — to emit that fragrance regularly. Holiness doesn't happen automatically. Our position must be transferred into practice.

Only by complete dependence on God's power — as well as placing ourselves around those people and things that discharge holiness — can we ever hope to smell good for God. Those emitting the same aroma as we do will enjoy a similar fragrance, but those emitting sinful aromas will most likely not appreciate our smell. When smelling good for God, we will always face opposition of some type.

What type of fragrance are we emitting?

Prayer: Father, remind us of Who we represent, so that we can release a fragrance that pleases You and points others to You. Amen.

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About the author:

Martin Wiles <>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for sharing, Martin.

    Thank you, Martin, for a sweet-smelling fragrance in today’s devotional.

    Thank you, Martin, for this eye-opening devotional. Wishing you and your wife a peaceful, happy New Year.

    Martin, there are so many facets of your life to provide fodder for devotionals. I had to read completely through this morning to learn who appreciates “old” smells.

    Amen and amen! Unlike one of our former family dogs who loved to roll in the stinkiest, grossest smelling things, may our “fragrance” be sweet smelling indeed! Blessings.

    Do you think now that we’re getting old, people pass by us, look at one another and say: ahhh the fragrance of old?
    A very aromatic word today Martin!

    This devotional has a lovely fragrance that helps and encourages us to emit the right fragrance to honor God. Thank you very much.
    Greetings Martin,
    I really enjoyed your devotional today and what a great analogy you composed of the “fragrances”. You are so right that we need share a “God type” fragrance with others in our daily lives. Spreading the fragrance of love and care is so needed in our world. Blessings for this delightful devotional and for your future writings.

    Good morning, Martin,
    In the Bible it refers a lot about the aroma that God loves but this is the first devotional that I remember reading that gives it more meaning for me. It is a good way for me to begin 2022 with a clearer understanding of what is pleasing to God. I love your expression that you and your wife like the smell of “old”. Before I would have said that the smell of “old” is musty but now I can look at it differently.
    Thank you for the many devotionals that you write from your heart and experience. May you and your wife be blessed with good health this year and continue to inspire others. Blessings.

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