One of the best parts of the fall holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, are the smells. The smells trigger wonderful memories for me. I love the pine smell of a Christmas tree. I love the fire place smoke. I love the smells of the kitchen spices. It is a wonderful time of the year. I think if one were to walk into a home that is cooking something wonderful the smells alone can change the mood in a positive direction.
14 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. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV
Paul in his letter to the Corinthians reminds them that they themselves are a sweet fragrance and a positive influence because they are infused with the aroma of Christ. Is there a person that walks into a room and you instantly feel more at ease? To others Paul says that Christians are the “fragrance of the knowledge of [God]” in every direction. We fill up the room with the smell of God. That presence flows to every corner of our influence. That aroma is noticeable and pervasive. People know when you have been with God. His love flows out of you in overflowing glory. Some hate that smell and others embrace it. So what is the smell that is so overwhelming? What is this fragrance? It is the “aroma of Christ” an incense burned up to God. Christ is the incense and we who are being saved are bathed in the atoning smoke.
7 And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it. Every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it, 8 and when Aaron sets up the lamps at twilight, he shall burn it, a regular incense offering before the Lord throughout your generations. 9 You shall not offer unauthorized incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering, and you shall not pour a drink offering on it. 10 Aaron shall make atonement on its horns once a year. With the blood of the sin offering of atonement he shall make atonement for it once in the year throughout your generations. It is most holy to the Lord.” Exodus 30:7-10 ESV
When we look at the history of the Old Testament everything prescribed and everything commanded by God was done to point toward Jesus and the perfect savior. The Priest would burn a specific type of incense as part of the temple duties before God as part of the sacrifice and sin covering attornment process. Jesus completed and fulfilled all those duties when he died on the cross for my sins and your sins.
Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV
Jesus Christ became the burnt offering of attornment. Jesus Christ is the fragrant incense burning before God and those who are being saved are bathed in that smell. So therefore, be imitators of God. Be his representative on earth toward everyone around you. Smell like victory in Christ.
The Bible is full of promises and most readers have a few promises that they have held onto in their lives. “God your word promises this to be true and I want to trust you for that promise” is a prayer I have made. For me a promise I have held onto over the years is from Romans.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 ESV
I love this verse because it is a promise to me that I can trust God. This world is broken. This world is hard. This world is painful. But the promise that I can trust God’s will for me is “good and acceptable and perfect” is a profound idea. And when I look back on where I come from through the pain, joy, tears, and mountain tops I can see he has been there protecting me. He has been guiding me. He has had a perfect plan for me and it is acceptable. I can only be grateful and thankful for all the care and concern he has poured into my life.
But why does he do it? I am just an average person living an average life. Why is he involved with me?
For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV
I am living proof that God is active in the lives of creation. My life is an “Amen” to him. Why does he interject himself in my life? He does it because he loves me, since he created me, and because I glorify him. When I write this post and when I go about my life as a living example of what it looks like to glorify God it is noticeable. People at work I have never spoken a word to about church or God or Jesus have asked me to pray for them. Conversations change from crass to more acceptable when I enter the room. I have never asked anyone to stop speaking about a topic and I have never judged anyone for their conversations. It all happens because, I pray, God is glorified. All of his promises are found true because I am resting in Christ and trusting him for today. I want God to be glorified because of what he has done.
Why does God perform miracles in the lives of people? Healed people still get stick again. Life fixed in one moment is broken later. Our need for God never ends. Look at the example of Lazarus the man Jesus raised from the dead. Lazarus is not alive today so the poor man had to die twice. Look here at the words of Jesus explaining why he raised Lazarus from the grave.
Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” John 11:40 ESV
Jesus did this so the people at that moment would glorify God. God wanted to show his glory to them. How awesome is that? All of the YES to the promises of God find their glory in God. Why does God inject himself into the lives of people through Christ? So that we might glorify him and give him our yes. Dear reader if you have not said yes to Jesus now is that time.
I am rarely content. I think it is a sickness to always want more. It is part of the sin nature to covet and desire. Always comparing myself to my neighbors and coming up short. It eats away at the soul to always want more.
10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10 ESV
Contentment while having a lack of money and power and contentment with actual hardships points to a diminished sense of self and selfish desires. Paul found strength to live like this through Christ. Wealth is a dangerous power because it creates an illusion that the possessor of the wealth has control over life and can live independent of God. We control less than we think. Wealth only separates one from dependence on God temporarily like the foolish prodigal son who left his father to live a life independent of any care for tomorrow.
12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13 ESV
That is not to say wealth in this life cannot and should not be taken advantage of when it is used for God’s glory according to his leading. The strength comes not from the wealth, in fact it is a weakness, strength comes from Christ and Christ alone.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV
Whatever your circumstance, rich, poor, happy, sad, strong, or weak give thanks to God that he has given Christ. Give thanks to God for giving you life to live. Be content where you are today and be grateful for all that you already have secured through his love.