Why Christians should smell different
"There's something about your wife - there's an aura, a vibe...I can only describe it as light...she's the most special person I've ever been around. What is this?"
These were the words of a woman, we'll call her "S", who has spent her entire life in an area of South Asia we would consider unreached with the gospel. For her, this has meant: thousands of gods, long lists of rules & rituals, and utter uncertainty of life after death.
Then she met A & A.
Likely some of the only Christians "S" has ever met, A & A were sent by Watkinsville to live on mission in that part of the world. "S" is helping them learn about life, language and culture in their new city, and in the process, she is learning a few things too. They have had many opportunities to share the good news of the gospel with this woman -- which she has listened to with interest and joy -- and they are praying and believing that she might be saved.
2 Corinthians 2:14&15 says:
"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. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing" (emphasis mine)
What does that mean? Well, it means Christians should smell different. Or, to put it another way, people should notice that there is "something about us" in the way we live, speak, and interact with those around us. If Christ lives inside us, we should look different from the world - really, we should look like Christ. And it should cause people like "S" to ask the question, "What is this?"
You see, "S" is familiar with the smell of burning incense - it's the smell of dead religion and empty hope, burned up day after day at alter after alter set up to appease a myriad of false gods. But the smell of a Romans 12:1 life, the smell of #EasterLife, of a Christian offering their body as a "living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God," well that's a new smell altogether. And that's only half the story.
Romans 10:14 says:
"How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?"
And, as Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 3:15, we should ""always [be] prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you". We are not called to simply walk around, silently 'smelling' like Christians, hoping that someone will ask. Our command is to go and tell, and our message is validated by the aroma of our lives.
So let us ask ourselves:
- Does our life spread the fragrance of the knowledge of God?
- Would anyone have a reason to ask what's different about us?
- Are we ready to answer the "what's that smell?" question?
- Might God be calling you to go spread His fragrance in another part of the world? Have you considered "offering your body as a living sacrifice" in a place where the "aroma of Christ" is absent, and your life lived out in faith might cause people like "S" to ask "what is this??"
And let us pray for A & A:
- That they would continue to adjust well to their new city
- That their marriage would stay strong, and they would grow closer to each other and to God
- For their second son, who will be born in April - pray for healthy baby and healthy mama
- For logistics related to visa issues, that God would be sovereign in the details and they would be shown favor
- For "S" and her household, that they would believe and be saved