Have you ever thought of the aroma that you spread to those around you? Not your aftershave or perfume, but the fragrance of Christ that you carry with you!
In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul paints a picture of a Roman triumphal procession, where Jesus is the conquering General being honored as he leads a parade of conquered slaves, of whom Paul says we are a part!
"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." 2 Corinthians 2:14
It's the paradox of being a conquered slave, but at the same time being an emissary of God himself! Then in the next verse, he describes another paradox, that to those who are being saved, we are the aroma of life, but to those who are perishing, we are the aroma of death. The same gospel has opposite effects on people - a beautiful fragrance of life or a pungent, offensive odor of death.
In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul describes why some people can't understand the amazing gift of salvation that God is offering to them:
"And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." 2 Corinthians 4:3-4
A few years ago, I was at a conference and one of the speakers said that we have three options of how we relate to the world:
- Fortress – we can pull away from the world and protect ourselves and our children from all the bad that is out there
- Force – we can choose activism to try to force change through legislation and political action
- Fragrance – we can live in the world in such a way that others see Christ's love through us
There is a spiritual battle being waged for the souls of humanity, and our job is to (1) take the gospel - the beautiful fragrance of Christ - with us everywhere we go, and (2) pray for the illumination of the hearts and minds of unbelievers around us.
What kind of fragrance are you spreading?