Listen to this devotional:
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.