But thank God! He has made us His captives and continues to lead us along in Christ's triumphal procession. Now He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.
2 Corinthians 2:14
Never underestimate the power of strong perfume. I say that as a caution because some people like to lather up with cologne or perfume before they come to church. I know this because I tend to give side hugs on the weekend, and when I drive home after four hours of this close contact, I can usually smell the aroma of the people I have hugged. In fact, there are times my wife will notice and say, “Who hugged you today?” Each weekend I carry the aroma of them home.
Isn't it interesting that as followers of Jesus, we carry His aroma, or sweet perfume, around to others? Something amazing has happened inside of us; we now embody a type of love, joy, and peace that overflows to the people we interact with. Your barista should notice that you are different from everyone else because you made time to talk with them and listened to them. Your boss might notice that you work harder than everyone else, not to get ahead, but because you are trying to please God. Your kids will take note of the times that you are connected and centered in on the things of God because you aren’t angry all the time or flying off the handle. This is like a sweet aroma to this lost world. They should see and notice that we are different because we have been with Jesus. This perfume allows us to share the truth of Jesus with and without words.
While some people take notice and are attracted to Jesus through a life that is connected to Christ, there are all some people that react differently. To those who are lost and steeped in sin, the aroma of Christ actually repulses them. Paul knew this and advised the Corinthian church accordingly because living for Jesus is a reminder to some that life is temporary. We live with an eternal perspective and for life in heaven, rather than the here and now. To some, this is a threat to the way they are living, and they tend to be the ones who push Christians away.
What type of aroma or sweet perfume is coming out of your life? Is it pointing people to Jesus or is your scent attracting people to your own accomplishments? A life that is connected to Jesus overflows into your external world. Other people should see Jesus in you and want the hope that you have.
Who is the last person who noticed that you were a follower of Jesus? Write down their name below. If you are fully surrendered and connected to Jesus, this assignment should be easy. If you have a hard time with the exercise, it might be that you haven’t done the hard work of getting close to God. Either way, put together a plan to share the aroma of Christ with others. We know that at times Christians slowly put an end to their relationships with non-believers. This week, be intentional about building relationships and bridges with those who are far from God.
Read 2 Corinthians 2:1-17 (NLT)
So I decided that I would not bring you grief with another painful visit. For if I cause you grief, who will make me glad? Certainly not someone I have grieved. That is why I wrote to you as I did, so that when I do come, I won’t be grieved by the very ones who ought to give me the greatest joy. Surely you all know that my joy comes from your being joyful. I wrote that letter in great anguish, with a troubled heart and many tears. I didn’t want to grieve you, but I wanted to let you know how much love I have for you.
I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.
I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions. When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.
When I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me. But I had no peace of mind because my dear brother Titus hadn’t yet arrived with a report from you. So I said good-bye and went on to Macedonia to find him.
But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?
You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.