But thank God!…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. 2 Corinthians 2:14b-15a (NLT)
As I sat down in the driver’s seat and shut the door for the first time, it was unmistakeable. So intoxicating. The new car smell. The combination of leather, plastics and the solvents that are used in the production of new cars emit an aroma that it is undeniable, especially when the sun warms the interior of the car. It’s a smell that tells you that something is brand new, fresh, and clean.
It’s wonderful while it lasts but it doesn’t take long for the new, fresh, clean smell to be replaced by the odour of everyday life…sweaty kids, discarded food wrappers, footy boots or socks that have been taken off after sport, dirt and sand that falls off shoes, road grime that clings to the paintwork.
It made me think about our lives as Christians. We have the greatest gift from Jesus. In baptism, we are given a brand new life, a fresh new beginning, a clean heart. The new Christian’s smell is intoxicating and exciting. It has a fragrance of new energy and purpose. A sweetness that lingers. A hope that is tangible. A freshness that you want to draw in because it makes you feel alive. It’s the aroma of heaven. But like a new car, the smell of a new Christian can dissipate quickly. The fresh aroma can be replaced by the stale odour of worry, struggle and pain. The clean decor of our hearts can become stained with the accidental spills of life. The carpet of our souls can pile up with the discarded remains of what we consume to satisfy our hunger and thirst? Sometimes, we just forget what the ‘new life’ smells like because we have been a Christian for such a long time and become accustomed to the smell.
So when the smells of the world are absorbed into our hearts that the aroma of heaven is forgotten, how do we recover the ‘new life’ smell? It’s not just a matter of spraying a “new Christian’ deodoriser like companies that have developed car-fresheners that replicate the ‘new car’ smell. That’s a manufactured smell that won’t last and will only bring fleeting delight.
Whether you realise it or not, as a Christian, you are the aroma of Christ. That’s what Paul reminds the Corinthian Church and us. The scent of heaven is evident when the Son shines in and warms up the interior of our hearts. When we spend time with Jesus, our lives begin to resemble his life and we become a ‘Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.’ When we spend time in communion with Christ his fragrance clings to us and lingers on us wherever we go. It’s a scent that is unmistakeable. It’s full of the sweetness of the Father’s love, the richness of the Father’s mercy, the freshness of the Father’s blessings anew each day.
Just a little of Christ’s aroma on you can fill a room. A small whiff of his love in you can have a widespread influence. The scent of his forgiveness released from you can make all things brand new. The fragrance of joy spilling out from you will arouse hope and draw others closer to smell for themselves the ‘new life’ in Jesus.
May the aroma of heaven, the ‘new life’ in Christ smell always emanate from your life and never fade!
Lord Jesus, may my life be a fragrant offering that releases the ‘new life’ scent, the aroma of heaven, wherever I go. Amen.