Some foods have such distinctive aromas that we can instantly identify them by smell alone. For instance, the essences of vanilla, bananas, and cinnamon are strong scents that are hard to mask. Of course, vanilla and cinnamon are so pleasant most of us wouldn’t want to cover their smell. In fact, many people use these scents to freshen their rooms.
Not all kitchen smells, however, lend themselves to deodorizer scents. It’s easy to find vanilla or cinnamon-scented candles and sprays at any store, but good luck finding “boiled collards”! Some smells do nothing to freshen the atmosphere. Fried fish and chicken curry may taste good, but their odors (notice we didn’t write aromas) are strong repellents.
Most fresh cooked foods are powerful attractants, though. Throw a steak on the grill and there’s a good chance your neighbor will walk over to say hello. Bring home a steaming pizza, and everyone in the house will suddenly feel hungry — for pizza! Indeed, people are attracted to certain smells. Place a steaming meal on the table and you probably won’t need to ring the dinner bell — your family will be lured by the appetite-arousing aroma!
God greatly blessed us when He gave us the sense of smell, because our world is redolent with a multitude of fragrances. Even people smell.
Uh, that didn’t exactly come out right. No, we’re not referring to BO. Nor are we referring to a lady’s Chanel #5 or a gentleman’s aftershave. Granted, some people are recognizable by the perfume or cologne they use, but the smell we’d like to discuss here is of a spiritual nature. Smells communicate powerful messages to the brain: they can make us hungry or cause us to lose our appetites; attract or repulse us; put us in a relaxed mood or make us feel anxious.
Previously we discussed the “essence” of God. It’s LOVE, the “soothing aroma” of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, which paid the penalty for our sins. (John 3:16) The Apostle Paul wrote, “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.” (Ephesians 5:2 NLT)
God’s signature fragrance is love, and in a manner of speaking, Paul admonishes us to “smell” like God. Okay, we know you can’t really smell love, but God wants us to emit love the way a spice cake emits the delicious aroma of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg! He wants us to draw people to His Divine Table the same way the smell of pizza draws us to the kitchen table. So comparing God’s love to a pleasing scent is actually an excellent analogy.
“…I thank God, who always leads us in victory because of Christ. Wherever we go, God uses us to make clear what it means to know Christ. It’s like a fragrance that fills the air.” (2 Corinthians 2:14 GOD’S WORD)
Every believer should smell like the Love of Christ (the Bread of Life)! When we walk into a room, people should immediately be able to detect the comforting aroma — a fragrance that will attract them and make them hungry for the things of God. “…If I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to Myself.” (John 12:32 Holman Christian Standard)
Of course, many of us don’t always have this particular scent. Instead we often reek of self-serving indifference or — far more foul — the stink of hatred. But we’re called to be God’s ambassadors to a lost and hurting world — His loving hands extended in friendship and service. So, touch a life. Put on Christ (Galatians 3:27) and fill the atmosphere — at home, school, work, and wherever else God takes you — with the sweet aroma of God’s Love (the essence of 1 Corinthians 13).
By the way, how do you smell?