What is That Smell?

Have you ever had to investigate a suspicious household smell? Someone forgets to take out the trash or bits of food get trapped in the kitchen sink. Or maybe a child’s laundry doesn’t make it into the hamper and ends up under a bed or thrown into a corner of the closet.

One thing about this kind of odor—it can’t be ignored. Or covered.

Have you noticed that you can tell where someone has been by the way they smell? I mean, there’s a major difference in our children’s aroma fresh from a shower and their “fragrance” after playing outside for a few hours. When our girls returned from basketball practice, there was no doubt they had spent time in the gym and locker room. Those places have a distinct smell.

There are also the wonderful stop-and-breathe-it-in smells. Like our hands after digging in a garden’s newly turned earth. Or the lingering scent of pine needles on our clothes after a leisurely hike in the woods.

Or the fresh-from-God baby smell that fills our senses after a few minutes of hugging, cuddling, kissing, and loving on tiny newborn treasures. A beautiful freshness wraps around us and lingers long after we’ve had the privilege of cradling them. Our clothes and skin absorb the exquisiteness.

In fact, we tend to carry the fragrance of whatever or whomever we spend time with.

Do you know people who seem constantly bogged down by envy, bitterness, and anger? Have you noticed that being around them puts you at risk? Whether we want it to or not, the “odor” of contentious or combative people tends to cling to our spirits and bring us down.

This is also true of our activities. Do we “smell” like reality-television, too much YouTube, or the latest grocery-store tabloid? Do we reek of busyness, over-scheduling, and stress?

Or do we smell like Jesus?

…Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ.
Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance.
Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God…
•  2 Cor. 2:14b-15a  •

I must admit that I tend to fall into the trap of becoming so over-scheduled that I give off more of the unpleasant scent of stress than I do the sweet fragrance of Jesus. Recently, I reached a point where a precious friend stood talking to me and my mind could not even focus on her words. Like an idiot, I stared at her until she turned me around and said, “Go home.”

Thankfully, this friend knows and loves me. She forgave my “unpleasant odor” before I even apologized.

But what about the rest of the world? If Christians are running around oozing fatigue and stress, how will we ever reach anyone with the aroma of Christ? What will set us apart from the chaos of our culture?

If the secret is found in where we spend our time, then it seems logical that time with Jesus and His Word will make the difference. Time with Him will wipe out the unpleasant odors, giving us the “exquisite fragrance” of our Lord—peace, joy, patience, love, and compassion.

Others around us will want to investigate—wow, what is that amazing scent? I want to know more!

Check out these simple ways to focus our hearts and priorities each day:

Upon waking (before the shower, morning news, or breakfast), direct first thoughts to the One Who created us and designed us for purposeful living.

Father God, I want today to belong to You.
I long to walk with you in my moments and to glorify You
with each decision and interaction. I ask for strength, wisdom,
and a spirit of discernment for today’s journey.

As we go about our day, grab a few seconds to meditate on scripture that we’ve prepared in advance (sticky notes on our fridge or dash, or index cards in a pocket or purse.)

Lord, the day is hectic, but help me to continue to focus on Your heart.
Give me strength to hold every circumstance
against the backdrop of Your love and faithfulness.

At the close of the day, spend time “decompressing” with the Lord. Ask honest questions (did I please You today? Were there missed opportunities to honor You?). Be still and listen.

Oh, Father, thank you for Your guidance today and for the victories You provided. Please forgive me for the times I left behind the unpleasant odors
of fatigue, busyness, and stress.  Convict my heart to come to You when I am overwhelmed. May I always seek to carry the beautiful fragrance of You.

A Christ-centered focus requires effort and intention, but the benefits are incredible—including a calm spirit, peace, and a bubbling-over sense of joy and purpose.

As we walk through a new week, will we leave behind a fresh-from-God fragrance?



4 thoughts on “What is That Smell?

  1. A great thought for today and everyday Leigh Ann. Thank you. “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” –2 Corinthians 2:15


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