A Fragrance.

If you're aware of some of my quirks, you'd recognize that I'm a little bit obsessed about scents. 

When I buy a new book or a new dress, I have to sniff it to take in what I have come in contact with. When I step into a Hallmark store filled with new items, I have to inhale the distinct scent of the place that surrounds me. Scents give me comfort, reminding me of where I've been. One of my favorite scents is that of the Minnie Mouse blanket I've slept with for the past...well...fourteen years. I love when it's freshly washed and hung to dry and I can smell the summer breeze upon its fabric. I have an affinity for pretty perfumes, but after I buy a certain perfume and wear it for a specific time in my life, I can't wear the perfume in a new chapter of life. I suppose this is because when I smell Hilary Duff's "With Love" or "Vera Wang Princess," my mind is transferred to memories of going to the National Spelling Bee in 8th grade or joining the tennis team my freshman year of high school. I feel that certain scents should be preserved for the past, and that I should continue to experience new perfumes to serve in conjunction with new life experiences. In fact, I've had daydreams about becoming a perfume saleswoman and matching individuals up with their "perfect" scent...

You may be questioning why I just spent so much time talking about my nose's preferences. 

I address my love for fragrances because as I was reading 2 Corinthians 2 tonight, I came across a passage in verses 14-17 where Paul addresses followers of Christ using "nose imagery" and it caught my attention:

"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." (ESV)

Paul notes that we carry a fragrance of Christ in our lives as He continually leads us into victory. As we live for Christ, we serve as the "aroma" to God of Christ's love in us. As aromas have the power to pervade a room, so our lives are able to pervade the presence of God to people around us, allowing God's love to be breathed into them. The fragrance of Christ we carry to people around us can be convicting to their hearts, allowing them to glimpse the abundant life God has to offer those who are fully surrendered to Him. We are called by God to carry His aroma, and only He can equip us to be carriers of His life-giving aroma.

Sometimes I ponder the beauty of God's plan--specifically how awe-striking it is that He has a plan for each of His children and that He connects us all together as the body of Christ in order to advance the Kingdom of God. I believe God has a unique plan for each of our lives, meaning that He creates each of us to metaphorically be a different thread in the tapestry of His Kingdom--essential and distinct. In relation to the above passage from 2 Corinthians, I tend to believe that God allows a unique fragrance to be poured out of each of His children. We are each vessels of His sweet aroma, and as a whole community of believers, our collective scent is even more intense and pervading than the aroma we carry on our own. We are as diverse as the instruments in a cohesive symphony. As we each allow Christ's love in us to be given off as an aroma, each perfume scent of the individual joined to the community of believers becomes a mixture reflecting Christ's perfect love for us and for the world.

All is for His glory, and as we allow Christ to be glorified in our lives, He will allow His sweetness to be released in our lives. I'd like to think that the fragrance I carry has hints of flower blossoms, with a trace of amber and a touch of mahogany. However, the sweetness God calls us to give off to others has more to do with how Christ is reflected in our lives, not the physical scent we carry. If we are living in Christ's love, then others will glimpse love. As we are seeking God's truth, the Spirit leads us into all truth and allows for us, in turn, to speak this truth into others.

I'd encourage you to think about the aroma you are allowing Christ to release through you. Is it sweet? Let's ask Christ to make His fragrance sweet through us, and as a result, He will increasingly use us to be a testimony of His goodness.

My prayer is that the aroma I offer to God is even sweeter than my perceived prettiest perfume, and that this fragrance is readily noticed by others around me. I pray that the beauty of Jesus is truly, truly seen by the way that I live my life. I pray that I bear fruit for His Kingdom daily, not to reflect anything that I've done--but to reflect everything God has done for me.

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