There is this thing I have for good smells...the aroma of food cooking, freshly washed clothes, a vase of flowers, a favorite blanket and of course clean sheets before bed...can you say "aaww"!! These scents represent more than a simple smell, they often connect to a memory, or a feeling, something of comfort or delight.
As Christians, we are told in the Bible that we are 'the aroma of Christ".
"For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." II Corinthians 2:14
A recent Sunday morning at church, I ran into an old friend. It had been over 20 years since we had seen one another. Many things happen and change in the span of 20 years!! God's grace had changed me from a rebellious teenager making many wrong choices. My friend had come to church, searching for something. We greeted one another and hugged. She must have had a drink before she came and as I sat down, some of the scent of alcohol lingered on my clothes.
Something about the smell of alcohol while sitting in church singing hymns didn't add up. While pondering my friend and my relationship, I recalled that it was only through God and His grace that I was changed. Way back then, my choices were leading me on the road to heartache, sin and despair. One of my favorite verses to remember is Psalms 40:1-3
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
If not for God lifting me up, I would still be in the pit. But His grace overcame. I trusted Him and He changed my life. As I sat in church with the scent of the world lingering on me, my response was crucial. Would I only rejoice in God's saving grace for my life, or offer my friend a hand up? Could I look past the sight and affects of the sinful world on her and show her the path of grace?
I want to be what the verse talks about "the aroma of Christ". The clean, cleansing, refining scent of grace. Grace that covers our sins and empowers us to live a righteous life. Grace that changes the direction of our lives, makes our paths straight and sets our feet on a solid rock.
After the church service ended, I embraced my friend, who was in tears....and shared the power of God's grace. What He did for me, He can do for anyone. His name brings life, hope and mercy. She stays on my heart this week, my dear friend. But as I lift her up in prayer, I am confident that God can meet her every need. All I can do is show her the way to Him.