"But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and spreads through us in every place the scent of knowing Him. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are a scent of death leading to death, but to others, a scent of life leading to life." II Cor. 2: 14-16
The sense of smell is probably the most under appreciated of our five senses, yet it plays a HUGE role in our life! Did you know that no 2 people have the exact same odor identity or "smell fingerprint"? It is determined by many factors such as our genes, skin type, diet, medicines, mood and even the weather!
"Whether for finding food, avoiding predators or choosing a mate, the sense of smell is critical for the existence of almost all creatures. We humans, able to distinguish over 10,000 different odor molecules, utilize our sense of smell for a multitude of activities from enjoying the aroma of freshly brewed coffee to deciding whom not to sit next to on the bus. In the last 15 years scientists have made great advances to our understanding of how our nose detects odor molecules and our brain processes the resulting information that gives rise to the sensation of smell.
Our sense of smell is so powerful that when you smell SKUNK, you are smelling 0.000,000,000,000,071 of an ounce of scent. Dogs have about 200 million olfactory receptors. That is about 20 times the number humans have.
People recall smells with 65% accuracy after a year while visual recall of photos sinks to about 50% after only 3 months. Our odor memories frequently have strong emotional qualities and are associated with good or bad experiences in which they occurred. In fact, smell is handled by the same part of the brain that handles memories and emotions." (1)
We all have experienced the way certain smells evoke certain memories. I remember walking into our old high school a few years back and I immediately was in 1st grade again (all 12 grades were in that school when I was a child). The smells of certain foods bring back certain memories of home or a place dear to our heart. Certain colognes remind us of certain people. We love being near those who smell good and we avoid those who don't smell so good. There are entire industries built around our smelling good....two in particular....the deodorent industry and the fragrance industry.
I recently went to buy my husband a new cologne. I went to the men's fragrance counter and began to sniff different ones. After 3 or 4, I just had to back away and catch my breath. They all began to run together. Then the associate who was helping me said "It's time for the coffee beans!" I looked at her rather puzzled and she laughed. She went behind the counter and sure enough, she emerged with a bowl of coffee beans! She told me to sniff them a few seconds and then to try another fragrance. She then explained that smelling coffee beans sort of "cleanses the nasal passages" much like sherbet cleanses the palate between courses in a meal. And you know what? It worked!
I like to smell good, don't you? I have worn a number of fragrances over the years. My tastes in fragrance has changed and my body chemistry has also changed. I can smell a fragrance on someone else and love it. I can try it on me and it smells nothing like theirs. So we DO each have our own unique fragrance print. But I think it is important to smell good....or at least not to smell bad! HA!
Who knew it was Biblical? Yet here it is in this scripture that we are to be the fragrance of Christ to God and to others! Think about that. When we think about the word "fragrance", we think of something pleasant like cologne or the fragrance of a rose. When we think of "odor" we think of something foul, like a skunk or body odor. We are to be the "fragrance of Christ". Christ should so fill our lives that when we are around others, they get a "whiff" of Christ every time we come around. DO THEY?
When you walk into your office in the morning, do those you work with get a whiff of Christ? Has anyone ever said of you "his/her attitude stinks!" Do they long for you to linger just so they can drink it in or are they anxious for you to pass on by? When you are home with your family, what kind of fragrance do they get from you? What about your neighbors? Do they get a whiff of Christ?
Oh how this should cause us to watch what we say and what we do, our attitudes, our tones, our gossip. Whether we are with believers or with those who are lost, may we strive to give off the fragrance of Christ today, so that when we leave our scent will linger and those we were near will long for our return just so they can drink in that fragrance once more. May His fragrance in us be like the smell of baking bread....may it whet their appetite to "taste and see that the Lord is good"!!
(1) http://www.senseofsmell.org/index.php Sense of Smell Institute
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