“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life”(2 Corinthians 2:14-16, NIV).
An aroma can be defined as “an agreeable odor or fragrance”. A less known definition is “a pervasive characteristic or quality”. These verses in 2 Corinthians speak of my life as a Christian, and how God wishes to use me to spread the knowledge of His love. As a captive of Christ, I give off a “pleasing aroma” to the Lord. To one who is seeking the Lord, my aroma is the fragrant odor of His life, but to the one who is spiritually dying, my aroma is the stench of death. My life should be so deeply pervaded with His presence and captivated by His will that everything about me emits an odor of spiritual wholeness in Him. However, the spiritual aroma of Christ in my life can become dampened by attitudes that are self-focused instead of God-focused.
What kind of spiritual aroma does my life offer? What comes to someone's mind when they hear my name? Would they like to spend time with me or run from my presence? Do hope, peace, and joy pervade my life? Do I encourage with the love of Christ or do I offer the despair of an ugly and negative spirit? Am I so concerned with never receiving my own promise that my heart is envious of someone else receiving theirs? Does my life speak His peace and contentment or is it filled with the misery of self-pity? Do I live my life joyfully focused on Him or does a bad attitude claim my mind? If everything is about me, then I become a selfish person instead of the selfless one that the Lord calls me to be. Self-pity brings feelings of rejection, and then I isolate myself from others. Bitterness claims my mind and heart, and I drive others away by erecting a wall no one can easily climb. I cannot serve the god of “self-pity”, and also be the aroma of Christ.
If I am captivated by His presence, then I belong to Him. There is no room for selfishness or jealousy or bitterness. If Jesus Christ is the Lord of my life, then I am lead triumphantly by the Holy Spirit, and my life draws others to Him instead of pushing them away. I choose everyday whether I allow myself to be the aroma of Christ—whether I allow Him to live and love through me. If my heart is truly His—if my mind is focused on Him—if I seek Him and obediently live for Him, my life should share His promise of new life instead of sharing the stench of death which comes from a self-consumed heart. If my life is not about me, I offer His life. And through a yielded life, He can draw others to Him.
If I choose Him as my Lord instead of the god of “self-pity”, He sets my stony heart free. If I choose Him over all that I feel that I deserve and allow Him to guide my heart and claim my mind, I become focused on His will instead of my own. “For here’s what I’m going to do......” He promises. “I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!” (Ezekiel 36: 26-28, MSG).
If I draw close to Him, He will draw close to me. If I choose Him above all else, He will set my stony heart free. He will be my God in every way. My life will no longer be consumed with what I want, but with what He wills. If I am captivated completely by Him, then I shall be the aroma of Christ.