We are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
2 Corinthians 2:15
One person feels euphoria when she smells freshly fallen snow because it reminds her of snow days off from school when she was a little girl. Another person feels stress when he smells that same smell because it reminds him of a cold and terrible battle in a long-ago war. According to an article in Psychology Today, because we tend mainly to think about our sense of vision, we sometimes underestimate the power of smell. Studies, for instance, have shown that our olfactory nerve—the nerve that gives us our sense of smell—sits right next to the parts of our brain that handle things like emotion and memory. Aroma, therefore, makes a profound impact.
This is no new discovery, of course. People have known about the power of aroma for thousands of years. It’s one of the fascinating ways God has wired us. It should probably come as no surprise, then, that God’s Word pictures those who proclaim the message of Christ as “the aroma of Christ.” He pictures these proclaimers in this way, not because these proclaimers are powerful in and of themselves. Rather, the impact comes from the power of the message.
All of this serves to remind us how potent the message of Jesus truly is. When his proclamation of repentance and forgiveness of sins rings out, God the Holy Spirit is hard at work within that message. All those times when we have grown sleepy and apathetic in our relationship with the Lord, the message of Jesus might come to us as a harsh and abrasive smelling salt, waking us up. At those times when the guilty stench of our own sin is filling our nostrils and choking us in despair, the message of Jesus comes to us in the refreshing sweetness of the full forgiveness he purchased for us at Calvary’s cross.
This brings us to a question. Which aroma does your soul need right now—the smelling salt of repentance or the sweetness of forgiveness? The beauty is that the Lord brings just what you need through the power of his Word.
Holy Spirit, fill the nostrils of my soul with the aroma of Christ. Do this through the power of your Word. Amen.