My sense of smell has been quite sensitive lately.
Now that I am living with a chronic illness I need to be very careful about the odors I am around; the wrong scent can do anything from set off a migraine or increase my fibromyalgia pain. I find that my nose reacts especially negatively to odors like strong perfume, cigarette smoke and poor body hygiene; however, lately it has been the nose wrinkling, musty smell of mildew permeating my house. Having a wet basement has caused this problem and whenever this stench renews itself I have to combat it carefully with the right candle, wax melt, or essential oil that my nose and disease will tolerate. I thought I had mastered it until I was at my physical therapy appointment and I realized the mildew smell has affected more than just my house; as I was getting dressed I noticed that distinct aroma was also on my sweater; I didn’t like it.
I am usually very careful about how I smell.
In fact, I tend to get overly concerned about how I smell to others. I think it is because I have reacted so poorly to bad odors that I get a bit obsessive about what scent I am wearing. I am especially careful around my husband. I try to make sure he likes all of the fragrances I pick and will shop with him to find a scent we both like.
My husband and I don’t always agree on what smells good.
I remember when I was a teacher at the Christians School we would have a yearly fundraiser where we served a German soup called Borscht. Its pungent odor would infiltrate my hair, skin and clothes as I was working during the cooking process. Personally, I enjoy the soup and have never been bothered by the unique smell; however, my husband, who dislikes the soup, has a strong aversion to it’s scent. He would always want me to wash my clothes and take a shower immediately when I came home, before I was too close to him. I did it because our relationship is of utmost importance to me; I always want him to say: “I like the way you smell”.
There are other relationships that I can affect with another kind of aroma.
… Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15
As a follower of Jesus I should only be wearing a “Christ-like fragrance”. Every place I go I should strive to be a “sweet aroma” of His love, compassion and service to all I meet. As God’s sanctifying work develops my faith, this “aroma” only grows stronger. However, scripture warns me that it doesn’t smell very good to some people.
To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? 2 Corinthians 2:16
I often wonder how adequate I am for a task that might cause people to reject me.
I have always had a people pleasing mentality; therefore, rejection has become one of the most painful experiences in my life. It is clear that as I spread the knowledge of Christ there will be some who react poorly. When that happens I must decide which relationship is more important to me; a relationship with Jesus or one with the world. I must chose to give up my need to please people and continue to wear the fragrance of Christ; my relationship with Him must become of utmost importance. When that happens this distinct aroma will give the world a headache; it won’t like it.
The fact is that the world rejected Jesus so it will reject me.
“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. John 15:18-19
In the days ahead there will be negative reactions and rejection from the distinct aroma I impart while following Christ’s example. Even so, as long as I walk in love and sacrificially use my spiritual gifts, I will be that life-giving perfume that will lead some to salvation. Then I will hear God say: “I like the way you smell!”
Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Ephesians 5:2