Author Rita Snowden tells a delightful story about visiting a small village in Dover, England. Sitting outside a café one afternoon enjoying a cup of tea, she became aware of a beautiful scent. Rita asked a waiter where it was coming from, and was told it was the people she could see passing by. Most of the villagers were employed at a nearby perfume factory. As they walked home, they carried the fragrance that permeated their clothes out into the street.
What a beautiful image of the Christian life! As the apostle Paul says, we are the aroma of Christ, spreading His fragrance everywhere (2 Cor. 2:15). Paul uses the image of a king returning from battle, his soldiers and captives in tow, wafting the smell of celebratory incense in the air, declaring the king’s greatness (v. 14).
We spread the aroma of Christ in two ways. First, through our words: telling others about the One who is beautiful. Second, through our lives: doing deeds of Christlike sacrifice (Eph. 5:1–2). While not everyone will appreciate the divine fragrance we share, it will bring life to many.
Rita Snowden caught a scent and was driven to seek its source. As we follow Jesus we too become permeated with His fragrance, and we carry His aroma into the streets through our words and deeds.
Lord Jesus, make us carriers and communicators of Your beauty to the people in our homes, offices, and neighborhoods.
We are the aroma of Christ to others.
When a Roman general won a significant victory, he would be granted the honor of a triumphal parade in the streets of Rome. Citizens of Rome would line the streets and shout words of praise. Pagan temples would offer up fragrant incense that flooded the parade with sweet-smelling aromas in honor of the event. Paul uses this imagery to stunningly illustrate the spiritual victory of Christ in securing our redemption. Having won the victory over sin and death, Jesus is our triumphant leader. The spiritual aroma of Christ is sensed by the spiritual condition of those we encounter. For those who are to be saved, new life in Christ carries spiritual vitality. But for those who reject God’s light, the aroma is objectionable.
What are some ways you can spread the aroma of Christ to others?