Snowgood’s recent post on the fragrance of Christ got me to thinking about instances when I’ve distinctly detected a certain lovely fragrance of Christ. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life…” 2 Corinthians 2: 14-16.
That wafting, weaving in and out, wonderful fragrance of Christ, rather like the silvery fingers of incense as it quietly drifts through-out a room. How to describe? An example may be the easiest. When I was 17 years old, a fellow high school student, a girl, was a Christian. Gloria was her name, and she was quietly, but obviously filled with the glory and spirit of Christ. She was friendly, clean, joyful, and liked by many. I didn’t know at the time that she was a Christian, until she signed my yearbook and expressed her desire that someday I would experience the joy of knowing Christ as my Savior. Of course, me being unsaved, I was disgusted that she would actually write the words “Christ” and “God” in my yearbook! But even at that time, I knew something was different about her—I wouldn’t know the source of her fragrance until years later.
I do know the stench of the Devil… on my honeymoon with my first husband, we spent nearly a week in Las Vegas, Nevada, where they take a special delight and joy in sin. We bought tickets for and attended an evening listening to the raunchy, disgusting, perverted humor of Redd Foxx. We were practically rolling on the floor, but out of the corner of my eye, I had noticed 2 men at a table nearby. They sat there quietly, never laughing. I thought it odd… I don’t know, were they Christians unaware of Redd Foxx’s particular brand of filth, or were they foreigners unable to understand the words? That’s the thing about Christians, we are to be different, to stand apart from all appearances of evil.
I once read that when you become a Christian, it will affect everything from how you decorate your home to where you go on vacation. The bar in your basement will most likely disappear–you won’t have any use for it and you won’t want the lifestyle that goes along with it. The questionable DVDs may go in the trash, ditto the CDs that mock God and glorify sin. The skimpy, suggestive clothing will be exchanged for something more modest to be worn in public, the horror posters and satanic paraphernalia will be ditched, and perhaps, (like me) you’ll run screaming from the idea of returning to Sin City for vacation. The fragrance of death and hopelessness will be replaced with a joyful life and a peace–your home will become a special little haven from the world. I knew a woman who before she became a Christian, had painted a beautiful Buddha on her wall. She told me that after becoming a believer, she was convicted… bye-bye Buddha.
Years ago, as I was driving through the town I used to live in, I noticed some dried Hydrangea flowers next to a house. I wanted a few, so I stopped, knocked on the door, and asked the lady who answered if I could possibly cut a bouquet. She was very kind and gracious, and consented to my request. I did not know her at the time, but I wondered to myself if she was a Christian, there was just something about her that caused me to think that she may be. It wasn’t but a year or so later, I met her at our church… yes, she is a Christian. She had that “fragrance” and aura about her even when I didn’t know her.
One of the most telling situations when you can breathe in the magnificent fragrance of Christ is at the funeral of a Christian. Others who don’t know Christ as their Savior may weep knowing that this life was the “end”, but Christians know we are only passing through on our way to our eternal home. “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14. Yes, we will weep and mourn for the loss of a friend or loved one, but we can rejoice and praise God knowing we will see our brother or sister in Christ again. When my mother died, I was so thankful that she had been released from her suffering here on earth and was now with her Lord. I was filled with such peace and joy at her funeral knowing that I would see her someday.
The question I ask myself is, do I bring about the fragrance of Christ when I am with others? The scent of hope, peace, joy…
The photo above is of one my favorite roses I moved with me to my new home. It is called “Midnight Blue” and has a strong, spicy, clove scent. As I sit on my front steps or work among my flowers pulling weeds, the strong fragrance drifts on the wind. I hope I continually uproot weeds from my life and allow the Christ-Fragrance to entice others.