Morning Devotions: 2 Corinthians 2:14 — 3:5

2 Corinthians 2:14-17 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? nkj

Freshly cut grass, clean laundry, Christmas, new crayons, popcorn, the ocean, puppies.

Spring time at the Toy Box Suburban Farm.

Spring time at the Toy Box Suburban Farm.

What do these things have in common? Each of them has a fragrance we remember. Some of them have a fragrance that brings happy memories flooding into your brain. Some people smell a freshly cut tree and start having happy memories of Christmas. The scent of popcorn can rush you back to the movies and a good time you had with a friend.

The same thing happens with stink. Ask a group of people what the worst thing is about camping and most will wrinkle up their nose and tell you that it is to the the outhouse. Why is that bad? Usually it is because of the foul smell. People who love swimming in the river, sitting around a camp fire and sleeping under the beauty of the stars will refuse to go camping because of the horrible smell of an outhouse.

The scent of coffee still puts me in the mood for reading the Bible.

The scent of coffee still puts me in the mood for reading the Bible.

Ask me what I like about church and I will occasionally close my eyes and take a deep breath through my nose. I remember the scent of old books, furniture polish used on the pews, and coffee brewing in the kitchen. I was seven when someone who mattered to told my parents that they needed to start sending me to church. The very next Sunday my dad dropped me off at the front door of a building I had never been to before; after giving me strict instructions on where to be when church was over so he wouldn’t have to get out of the car. Walking into the building I was all about my itchy dress, my normally wild hair pulled back into a tight pony-tail, and last year’s patent leather shoes feeling too tight. I don’t think that I noticed how the church smelled until a woman (whose face I do not remember) came to this frightened girl, all alone among strangers, and spoke with a kind voice, offering to help me find my Sunday school class. She introduced me to my teacher, sat me in a small plastic chair, wished me a good day and was gone. I remember thinking, for the first time in my life, “Church people are so nice! Someday I am going to be a Christian.” The scent always brings me back to that moment.

Paul taught us that we have a scent to people we meet.  Some of us smell like Christmas, others smell like an outhouse. Neither perfume nor a bath will change the memory of us that is embedded in the people we meet. If you choose to walk in The Way with rejoicing, then the people the Messiah leads you to will have the sweet scent of life attached to your memory. But it will not be you they remember. You are how they think of Christ and Christians. He tells us in verses 2:14-15 that the smells associated with meeting a believer who loves Jesus will lead them to look for The Way of Life with joy. But if you are judgmental, exclusive, if you love money more then you love people or if you are focused on the outward things more than the heart, then you will be a gate-way to life that has people reacting as if they smell an outhouse.

Camping at Bear Creek near Washington's Olympic National Park... where you could smell the ocean and the outhouse... depending on which way the wind was blowing.

Camping at Bear Creek near Washington’s Olympic National Park… where you could smell the ocean and the outhouse… depending on which way the wind was blowing.

In Corinthians 3:2 Paul teaches us that we are the letter of commendation (an award given to praise someone or something). When it comes to a decision as important as giving your life to Jesus, and you are the Believer in the room, you will have a powerful impact on the people you come in contact with. In fact, anyone who comes after you to witness to that person will find it difficult or easy speaking Life to them because of the impact you had. That is what Paul means when he says, “You are our letter, known and read by all men; 2 Corinthians 3:2.  You have to ask yourself, is what you know about Messiah written in ink or with the Spirit of the Living God? If it is with ink, then you only have knowledge from books, a religion but not a living relationship with the Almighty. But if the Spirit of God lives in you, if he speaks the Word of God to you when you pray, if you are encouraged by righteousness and find it difficult to ignore your sin because of an inner conviction, then you are most likely a born again believer who is a sweet fragrance to a dying world. Speak Life! It is written in Spirit in your heart instead of your head. Even skunk cabbage can smell sweet to the people who have connected with that kind of person.
Mrs. Hagerty, September 30, 2015 

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