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Kerry Lytle

December 30, 2023

2 Corinthians 2:15, New Living Translation

"Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.  But this fragrance is received differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.”

The sense of smell, which is sometimes taken for granted, affects several different areas of our lives, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. The difference is often indicated by the word that is used to describe the smell. For instance, the words “odor,” “stench,” and sometimes even the word “smell” itself, have a negative connotation. On the other hand, the words “aroma,” “fragrance,” and “scent” are almost always used in a positive way.


Another thing that smell can affect is mood or attitude. The perfume industry depends on this, for their aim is to design, market, and sell fragrances that can evoke feelings of romance or attraction.


Smells can even affect our actions. For example, some odors are so strong and so disgusting that they can make people sick to their stomach.


Did you know your scent, exclusive to you, goes before you? An infant recognizes their mother by her scent. 


Think about some of your favorite scents. Coming home after a hard day, you open the door and the aroma of fresh bread welcomes and comforts you. Or the open door allows the scent of your favorite candle to hit your nose. Or as you go outside you can smell a freshly mowed lawn or flowers. There are so many different scents that please us in many ways.


God created scents to bless us and fill us with hope and comfort; provide pleasure and even joy. And He created an aroma to be in motion – spilling over onto others and drawing them into its embrace.


In 2 Corinthians 2, the apostle Paul uses the concept of smell or fragrance to illustrate how the testimony of believers can affect the lives of others. “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” (2 Corinthians 2:14, NLT)


The word “diffuse” literally means to manifest or make known.  The fragrance we are to diffuse is that of His knowledge, or, more literally, “the knowledge of Him.” This knowledge is found in God’s Word. We have to be in His Word to gain knowledge from Him.


Believers are, to God, “the fragrance of Christ.” The word “fragrance” means a good smell or “a sweet smell.” 


God also sees us as “the fragrance of Christ” in our testimony to others, “among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” Just as certain smells can affect people, “the fragrance of Christ” can affect people in an even more powerful way. We are to exhibit the “fragrance of His knowledge” to other people. The fragrance we manifest is the same to everyone, the knowledge of Christ and His finished work on the cross. 


How do you get the scent of Christ? When you allow Jesus to dwell in you and to release His aroma within you –that sweet aroma spills over as you live and move and find yourself at home in Christ. That sweet aroma spills over as you live and move and find yourself at home in Christ.


As we live in humility and worship, our sacrifice is a sweet smell to God, honoring Christ, the Savior who brings peace between God and man.


Jesus is the Living Bread who came down from heaven. We cannot buy or earn this bread – it is freely given to those who open themselves to receive His mercy and grace. And like the scent of freshly baked bread that draws us to eat, the aroma of Christ draws us to partake of Him – the Living Bread – who gives us life and embraces us with His aroma.


The secret to contentment lies in allowing Jesus to take up residence in your home and offering all you have and are to His touch, His presence. By becoming a living sacrifice, you and I have the incredible privilege to become the sweet aroma of Christ to our hurting world, to our families and friends. But we also have the joy of pleasing God the Father.


Think about it! By presenting your body as a living sacrifice – you smell like Christ who dwells in you. The open door of your heart causes His aroma to spill over into the world around you, making others hungry and thirsty for that scent.


What about you? Are you manifesting “the fragrance of Christ” among the people you come in contact with each day? Or is your life diffusing a different kind of smell — an indistinct smell, maybe even a foul odor? God desires to diffuse the fragrance of His knowledge through you and I, a fragrance that will certainly have an impact on the lives around us!

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