How is your odor these days? Do you stink like a garbage can or are you emitting a sweet fragrance like a bouquet of Spring flowers? By now some of you are thinking that it’s time for a bath right? After being sheltered at home for so long I am sure that some of us have let certain habits fly right out the window! Go ahead, raise your arm and smell. Haha, I’m just kidding! I wish I was only talking about body odor that could easily be transformed by a nice shower or bath, but what I am talking about goes much deeper. I’m talking about an internal fragrance that works its way outward and is detectable by others around you. Did you know that there are some aromas that we emit that are soothing even to God himself? They are so pleasing to Him that He could breathe them in all day long! Where might these fragrances come from? When we extend our love to others, going beyond mere affection and into a self-sacrificing service God breathes the aroma in deeply. This behavior is a mirror of what God’s Son, Jesus did. Ephesians 5:1-2 tells us to be “imitators of God, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Did you catch that little phrase “as dearly loved children?” Children who are the recipients of such grand love from their parents will want to imitate them in life. Let me ask though, what kind of odor has your child/ children been privy to these past few weeks while “sheltered at home?” Truthfully, I have had a few times when my scent was less than pleasing! It is easier to let off a smell of sweetness when things are right in our life, but what happens when a storm blows in and we begin to feel the weight of its effects? What happens when our hearts begin to “freeze” and our confidence and security begin to wilt and droop? Does your sweet fragrance begin to stink? Do you become disobedient and short-tempered? Does your tongue lash out harshly from the depths of your heart? Yep, smelling pretty ripe these days! My friends, it doesn’t have to! Just like these hyacinths maintain a sweet fragrance even when smacked with a bitter cold snow, you too can still secrete a beautiful, sweet fragrance during your storm. God still is soothed by your ability to extend His love to others during hard times. He still breathes in your prayers and your repentance as a sweet fragrance even when you begin to wane. He still drinks in the aroma that lifts when you share with others the gift of life when it is so desperately needed. Things that smell good bring joy to the heart (Proverbs 27:9).
What if you say, “I just can’t do it! My storm has beat me down and I have nothing left to give?” To you I say, quiet yourself and begin to drink in the fragrance that God pours out to you. “When our will is weak, when our thinking is confused, and when our conscience is burdened with a load of guilt, we must remember that God cares for us continually; his compassion never fails. When friends and family desert us, when coworkers don’t understand us, and when we are tired of being good, God’s compassion never fails. When we can’t see the way or seem to hear God’s voice, and when we lack the courage to go on, God’s compassion never fails. When our shortcomings and our awareness of our wrongdoings overcome us, God’s compassion never fails” (NIV Commentary – Hosea 14:3-8). That, my friends, is a sweet fragrance! When you allow yourself to breathe in His fragrance deeply, you will find that it will begin to seep out from your heart and waft outward to others once again, no matter your circumstances. “Thanks be to God who leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade in Christ. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation – an aroma redolent with life.” (2 Corinthians 2:14-15). So what will it be? Garbage can or bouquet? I don’t know about you, but I really want to be a bouquet of sweet fragrance that will make my God smile with pleasure and that will bring joy to hearts that are around me.