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  • Writer's pictureA Friend of Jesus


Making Scents of Life

Today at the park Wagsley and I walked under one of the many crepe myrtle trees in full bloom. I was struck by the sweet smell of the blossoms. It was like I stepped into a gigantic honeycomb, without the bees. The smell was so sweet that it made my mouth water. Even now as I write about it my mouth is still watering. Until today I didn't realize that these tiny delicate flowers smelled like this.

We are created to experience all of life's simple pleasures through the senses God gave us. The sense of smell is connected to the sense of taste, which is why our mouth waters when we smell delicious food. Those with a heightened sense of smell like myself can be overwhelmed by some scents like the laundry soap aisle at the grocery store. I can literally taste the soap as I walk down that aisle. I avoid it at all cost.

The first thing we do when we receive flowers is smell them. We expect them to have a scent and are disappointed when they don't! We know what roses are supposed to smell like. We love the smell of fresh cut grass, cleansing rain, flowers, homemade bread, herbs, and here in Texas, BBQ. Powerful scents can bring back memories, or just make you hungry for some good home cookin'.

Perfumes and colognes can ignite memories good and bad. There are times when someone will pass by me who is wearing the same perfume that my mother wore. There was a man in our office the other day with cologne that Justin wore. Talk about an emotional storm caused by a scent!

Body odor is also either attractive or unattractive. The whole pheromone thing is a mystery. We put off these scents that are attractive to some and repulsive to others. It is all about survival and the choosing of a mate. Babies know the scent of their mother, and likewise mother's their babies. It isn't just an animal thing, we humans have that, too.

Scent is also a way to identify things to avoid, like a house on fire, a pile of dog poo, or a skunk. Imagine not being able to smell. I have heard of such people. In some ways it could be a blessing, like the whole skunk thing, but on the other hand it is after all a warning smell. How sad not to be able to smell a new baby, a warm cookie or puppy's breath. Yes, I said it. I rather like puppy's breath. To me it smells like coffee!

Imagine Jesus adding the scent to that crepe myrtle tree. Just enough honey fragrance to make the blossoms attract the bees. How about the scent of rain. Is it in the rain drops that the scent resides or is it a chemical reaction between the atmosphere and the fresh dew of heaven. Imagine Jesus coming up with the scent for apples, lemons, limes, and other fruits. They make our mouth water. How did he know that would be our reaction? Then there is the durian fruit. A fruit so smelly that they have banned it from being sold in the markets in Indonesia. However, it is supposed to have an amazing flavor if you can get past the smell! Imagine Jesus laughing as he added the scent to that one. I wonder - is there a mouth watering reaction for those who like this fruit even though the smell is repulsive?

The Bible talks about God being able to smell scents. The sacrifices that were made during Old Testament times were often spoken of as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. Exodus 29:41. Even the drink offerings of wine were a pleasing aroma. They burned incense which God designed specifically for worship in the tabernacle and told them that it was only to be used in the tabernacle. It was a combination of ingredients specific to the worship of God. I wonder what it smelled like.

Imagine Jesus being in the temple at Passover or any of the other feast days. Did he take a deep breath of the many scents wafting through the air during those times and take pleasure in them as God?

I wonder what we smell like to God. Romans 12:1 tells us to present ourselves a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. Do we smell good when we are totally surrendered to him and bad when we aren't? Are we a pleasing aroma?

2 Corinthians 2:16 Paul says we are an aroma to others when we speak the word of God in sincerity. Do we cause the spirit of others to water with hunger for God? To some we are like the durian fruit. They don't like how we smell, but if they could just taste who God is, they would love us. Maybe that is the lesson of the stinky fruit.

Remember to stop and smell the roses or breath in the rain. This sense is truly a gift from God.

Romans 12:1-2 "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

2 Corinthians 2:14-17 "But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God."

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