Everybody is a stinker. You either stink bad or good. You either stink terribly or pretty. To say stink good or pretty is actually an oxymoron so let’s contrast stinker with aroma. But let me illustrate and then show what God wants from you.
In front of our house my wife has planted a flower called “Lilly of the Valley.” This has literally taken over her flower bed. Due to this fact it seems to be more of a weed than a flower. So why do we tolerate this flower/weed? For one thing once it is in the garden it is extremely difficult to remove. But the main reason comes from another source. In the spring of the year that flower is very pleasant. When we walk outside we are immediately surrounded by a very pleasant fragrance from those tiny flowers. It is a delightful aroma. It permeates the air in front of our house. It is impossible to escape it. That could be labeled a good or pleasant stink.
A few days before Passover Jesus visited in the home of Lazarus and his sisters. He was the one whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Read what happened: “So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:2,3 ESV). Reflect on that last phrase a moment. The fragrance from the perfume filled the house. There was no place you could go to avoid it. It was extremely pleasant to everyone in the room. It so permeated the air that one did not even need to think about smelling it. What does that have to do with you?
Paul answers that with 3 verses in 2 Corinthians. “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?” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV). A believer is to spread the fragrance of Christ to everyone in his presence. When people are in your presence they should consider it a pleasant experience. So pleasant it is like the perfume of Jesus is coming from you. So pleasant they enjoy being in your presence. They want to be around you. Not because of what you give or do for them but because of the kind of person you are. This gets to be a challenge because of the contrast Paul makes in these verses. As your life emanates the Gospel of Salvation, to those who are saved that is a very pleasant aroma. To those who are not saved it is unpleasant as it is a warning of eternal death. Even though the aroma is pleasant it carries an unpleasant message if they ignore it. But that is for another time.
The purpose of this post is to encourage believers to work on being a pleasant aroma to those around them. Does your spouse enjoy being with you because the aromatic pleasant character of Christ is present in your home? Do your children like having you around because they like your aromatic influence? Do your coworkers and neighbors like being around you because the perfume of the pleasant qualities of Christ are present in you? Do you gripe and complain about life or is there much thanksgiving in your speech? Do people hear you being critical or praising others? Are you frequently seeing the negative aspects of life or are you seeing God’s blessings in life? It is obvious to others which you see. Is your environment “filled with the fragrance of the perfume” of Jesus Christ that comes from you?
You may ask how you can be a pleasant aroma to those around you when your life stinks? That will be addressed in another post.