Have you ever unexpectedly sailed into a scent that catapulted you back in time and memory? Immediately, the vivid imprint of a very specific activity or feeling long forgotten engulfs you. Our sense of smell may not be the one that dominates our attention most of the time, but it’s potent! We don’t think about it much in the natural course of the day, but our ability to distinguish scent, aroma, bouquet, stink, stench, perfume or putrefaction adds boundless, vibrant color to our world. What things smell like is important.
Think about the savory moments that fortify your day. First thing, coffee or tea (Czar Nicholas Russian Caravan, please) assails the nostrils with its deep loamy bouquet. There’s incredibly refined chemistry in the body products we use so blithely. Food stimulates a thousand physiological reactions required for eating, digestion and a sense of satiation. The sharp, earthy tang of righteous sweat reminds us of our bodies’ capacity for work or play. The silent, but intoxicating waft of pheromones moves us with primitive power. It isn’t just the touch, but the faint fragrance of crisp linens that prepares us for sleep. Life wraps us about with beloved odors like old friends, intrinsic to our well-being.
Last Christmas, a friend of mine gave me a small gift that has had an unusually powerful effect. It was a small wooden box with lattice-work on the front; a diffuser. Inside was a chunk of natural myrrh. It gave off an absolutely divine aroma; exotic, opulent, even queenly. Although I’m not a perfume person, I love the pure, natural top-notes of essential oils, and use them regularly. This was a lovely little thing. I set it inconspicuously on my night-table, trusting the fragrance would gently infuse my bedroom. Later that day as I was working, suddenly, the most sublime scent engulfed me. I wondered where on earth it could be coming from. Again, it happened; a wonderful aroma subtly wafting by, completely shanghaiing me out of the task at hand. As the window was open at the time, I did not immediately equate the phenomenon with my little diffuser. Finally, it dawned on me that the flow of air in the room was causing the fragrance to come in waves like a tantalizing promise. Even in sleep, it's spice sashays through my dreaming with a delicate wooing. I realize it sounds a touch absurd to put it into actual words, but this is the pleasure my little myrrh box brings me.
Amazingly enough, the Word assures us as believers, that we are exactly like this exquisite little diffuser box. The presence of Christ is emanating off our lives in a robust aroma, whether we are aware of it or not. We’re star-gazer lilies in the natural realm! We’re bursting bridal bouquets! We're fresh baked bread! Jesus is every perfect fragrance of nature, and He’s moving through our everyday lives, dramatically impacting encompassing environments. We change atmospheres, just by entering them. Consider this description;
But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere,
For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which exhales] unto God, [discernible alike] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing: To the latter it is an aroma [wafted] from death to death [a fatal odor, the smell of doom]; to the former it is an aroma from life to life [a vital fragrance, living and fresh]. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 Amp
As believers, regenerated and washed in the blood of the Lamb, we smell good. We carry the scent of life as it was originally…the garden of Eden. At an even higher level, when we worship or pray, it’s an ascending incense; an intensely sweet aroma that enters God’s nostrils and fills Him pleasure. The rotting stench of iniquity, failure, death, hatred and the curse are obliterated. To pagan strongholds or worldly bastions however, we bring the certain odor of judgment and doom. As agents of fumigation, we drive out the choking, smoky haze of evil spirits, dark enthrallments and negative strongholds. Principalities of darkness raise their grotesque, gargoylian heads at the entrance of the Saints and recoil in malevolent horror. They can’t breathe. Were you aware you have this devastating impact?
Here in Lent, it's timely to remember the dramatic story of Mary, serenely but ardently expressing her profound love for Jesus (John 12:1-11). She took an irreplaceably precious alabaster jar of pure nard (her dowry) and broke it open, anointing Him in the full company of all present. It was an action so lavish and provocative it polarized even the disciples, and solidified Judas’ resolve to betray Jesus. So concentrated was the perfume, it filled the house, and probably clung tenaciously to all the malcontents as they left grumbling! Hanging densely in the air for days, it testified silently to her rare and precious gift. I wonder, as Jesus was hard-driven through the following hours to the cross, if the scent embedded in His clothing wafted up to Him every now and again, touching Him with the love and devotion of His friends, however fickle. Did it comfort Him in His passion? Did its redolence mingle purely amidst rancid sweat, blood, tears, dust and death as He hung in the searing heat?As He breathed His last, was it lilting in the air...a fragile tenderness within the violent blast? Though the women came early to the tomb to anoint His body with spices in a last loving act, Mary’s nard was the only one that touched His body.
We honor the life of Christ we carry by moving steadfastly in His authority, allowing His fragrance within us to radiate an ambiance of grace. Without words, others are drawn to Him. It’s a winsome and effortless blessing that defies description. Don't underestimate the potent and precious aroma you carry. You are aromatic.