What Is That Smell?
I couldn’t get the dog off of me….no, I mean, literally. My dog gripped my legs, sniffed my pants, pawed the cuff of my pants, sniffed my hands, and then stood on her back legs to reach my chest for a more thorough investigation. I’d been to the vet’s office where I had liberally enjoyed petting all the dogs and cats in the waiting room while I purchased flea medicine, and my dog knew. There was no getting away with it. The look in her eye said it all; she knew from the scent what I had done. Only after I washed head to toe and changed my clothes did the dog stop sniffing!
Just like this incident, the “scent” of who we are and what we do may be imperceptible to humans, but is eminently perceptible to God. You know you’re hanging with the wrong crowd, but so long as your family, your church, and others you care about don’t know, it doesn’t really matter, right? You didn’t speak up when you knew you should, but you didn’t compromise your integrity, right? You know what happened and no one else, right? You didn’t do any harm, right?
God the Father smells the stench of our actions (or lack of action) and our chosen associations. The odor of sin is repulsive to God and just like the dog’s scent on my clothes and body that day, it stays with us until we clean ourselves up. Unless we cleanse ourselves by asking forgiveness, purifying our minds with the Word, and becoming obedient in our actions, the stench remains in His nostrils.
The good news is that God Almighty also knows the sweet fragrance of a life lived well. In Ephesians 5, we are told to be like Christ and “walk in love”. There, Paul says that we, like Christ, can become an offering and sacrifice to God as a “sweet smelling aroma” (vs 2). Walking in love means that we choose to associate with what is good, do what pleases God, demonstrating our commitment to Christ and Christian living. Later in Phillipians 4:18, Paul writes to Epaphroditus about a package sent to him from the church. It made him feel so good that he called it a “sweet aroma” and a “sacrifice”.
The scent of our lives wafts from Earth and ascends to the throne room of Heaven. Is the scent of your life today a stench in the nostrils of God or a sweet smelling aroma?