Think for a moment about something that you love to smell. Is it a fresh pound cake baking in the oven or perhaps bacon frying in a pan? Perhaps it is the smell of freshly brewed coffee or puppy’s breath.
I’ll tell you, I’m not a huge fan for the smell of flowers. Just doesn’t do anything for me. But, the smell of freshly cut grass grabs my attention. It screams summer, relaxation, and fun in the sun. I’m also a big fan of candles. My current fav is pineapple cilantro. Divine. Citrus-y, spicy. Just divine. But, of all the scents, I’m a sucker for perfume. I love wearing it. I don’t feel complete without it! If I run out, I complain that I don’t smell like a girl, and I drop constant hints to Shawn to buy me some more. I love cologne on him, too. There are times that I can be slightly frustrated with him, he’ll hug me, and I’ll smell his cologne and linger a little longer breathing it in and forgetting his offense. Now, don’t tell HIM that because he’ll BATHE in it so I’ll never get mad at him again!
Have you ever considered that there is an aroma that pleases God? There is!
Back in the Old Testament, God did not live in the hearts of His followers. Instead, His spirit dwelled in the Temple – a place that Priests could make sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people. God instructed that incense, or perfume, be burned continually on the altar offering up a pleasing aroma to Him and signifying that the Israelites were obeying His commands.
When Jesus arrived on the scene in the New Testament, all that changed. Jesus sacrificed Himself to be our Savior, eliminating the need for the Temple. We no longer need a priest to approach God on our behalf and make atonement for our sins. Jesus, Himself, is our atonement! His blood was shed for us, making us acceptable and forgiven. We no longer need to burn incense to remind God that we our following His commands. Our very lives – lived in service to Him – become a fragrant offering, a form of incense, pleasant aroma to God!
But, here’s the key: not every life is a pleasing aroma to Him. Only lives lived in sacrifice to Him. Check out what Paul says in Ephesians 5:2
“Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”
What made Christ’s life a pleasing aroma to God? His sacrifice. God breathed in all that Jesus was and did….and He was pleased. You see, a life that rises up as a pleasing aroma to God is one of sacrifice – sacrificing our desires for His, sacrificing our agenda for His, sacrificing our resources for Him.
It’s speaking kindly when your flesh wants to yell.
It’s saying yes to God when your fears entreat you to say no.
It’s realizing that all of our worldly possessions really belong to Him and are at His disposal.
It’s esteeming others higher than ourselves.
It’s submitting our lives to the commands God laid out for us in Scripture.
What about you? Is your life a pleasing aroma to God? Do your activities, sacrifices, and obedience rise up to Him and bring pleasant thoughts to His mind? Is your life one of the ones that is a pleasing aroma to Him?