“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 2:15-16, 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 live His love. To one who is open to know 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. But I must live my life carefully. The spiritual aroma of Christ in my life can become dampened by personal attitudes that are self-focused instead of God-focused.
What kind of spiritual aroma does my life offer? 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 Jesus Christ is the Lord of my life, then there is no room for selfishness and bitterness. My life is meant to draw 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 will 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. Through a yielded life, He can draw others to Him.
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. He sets my stony heart free. “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 sets my heart free to love with His love. My life will no longer be consumed with what I want, but with what He wills. If I am God-willed and not self-willed, I can speak the truth in love, and my life will back what I speak. I will offer life to one who opens his heart, but death to another who closes the door. I cannot decide for anyone else, but I can be the aroma of Christ that tears down walls and offers redeeming hope. I can live the life of love He calls me to live. It is my choice to live His aroma.