Friday, January 23, 2009

Mmmm! Smells Good!

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. (2 Corinthians 2:14-15)

Our sense of smell is an amazing tool given to us by our Creator. None of our senses can so quickly transport us back to a specific place and time as when a familiar odor hits us. In terrible ways, nothing is as easily recognizable as the smell of death, internal bleeding or rotten food. In delight, we deeply inhale the scent of baking cookies, a lovely woman's perfume or beautiful flowers.

God surely uses children with sensory integration issues to show us how much of an impact smell has! I have been to more than one "scent-free event" while serving in disability ministry. I've seen some of our parents have to leave the closeness of another friend just because a given odor has set their child off. And I've worked with one mother to get her school to use low-odor products to clean the classrooms and bathrooms, so her son's behavior and headaches can be adequately controlled.

With all this is mind, why shouldn't we think that WE leave an AROMA everywhere we go? God shows us in His word that we can leave that fragrance of Jesus, a scent like no other, wherever we may roam. How? Let me use an acrostic to tell you:
A - Attitude - We can carry a loving attitude wherever we go, no matter how difficult our circumstances.
R - Reality - We need to be real with people, sharing our sorrows and challenges, so they know they're not
the only ones. We give others the chance to watch more closely to see how Christians are
called to deal with life's ups and downs.
O - Obedience - There are so many times when it would be easier to opt-out and do life our own way. We can
use our children's diagnoses to excuse our rebellion. But ultimately, we give God the most glory
when we obey no matter what situation we face.
M - Manners - Being courteous has high impact when we are in stressful situations at hospitals, doctor's offices
or dealing with schools. When we treat others the way we would have others treat us in the
same situation, people stand up and take notice. This is what it looks like when Jesus calls us to
"be holy" in the same way He is.
A - Anticipation - 1 Peter 3:15 says, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you
to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." When
people see us living this life like we're just passing through, carrying the full anticipation of
heaven in our hearts, their focus will be turned in the same direction.

Friends, when we leave this AROMA everywhere we go, the people we encounter can't help but say, "There's something different about them. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I want what they have." As my pastor often reminds us, "Whether or not you know it, people are watching you." How amazing that we can leave the intoxicating fragrance of our Savior just by the way we live-out-loud each day!

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