Christ-Followers Just Smell… And They Should


Who’s That Smell?

I’m cooking chili and you’ll never guess what the whole house smells like.  You guessed it – you must be psychic or something!  The place smells like chili.  It smells great as a matter of fact.  It’s hard to sit here early in the morning and work while that delectable aroma is filling the air.  And when my wife comes home from her job, she’ll walk in the door and know instantly what I’ve been doing all day… that’s right, men, I’ve been cooking.  Cooking and thinking, now that’s a dangerous use of time.

Well, I’ve been thinking (while I’ve been cooking) that the Christian’s life experience should be just like that cooking chili.  When someone walks into the house they automatically know that someone is has been working in the kitchen.  When someone walks into your home, or walks into your office, or walks into your life, do they smell Jesus?  Interesting thought, isn’t it?  And a challenging question for those of us who wish to follow Christ in everything we do and desire to be witnesses to the love we have for our Savior and Lord.

The Apostle Paul wrote about this very thing in his second letter to the church in Corinth.  He wrote,

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.   2 Corinthians 2:14

Did you notice that Paul is giving thanks that “we” (all Christians) are given the ability to give off “the sweet aroma” of knowing Christ… and that we do it “in every place?”  Not just in church on Sundays, but in the office on Wednesdays, with our friends on Saturday nights, and at home on Thursday evenings.

Paul then goes on in his letter to say that Christians just smell – and we should!

For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?   2 Corinthians 2:15–16

He is being very plain spoken here.  Paul is teaching us that we, as Christ-Followers, smell up the places we frequent.  We smell…

To other Christians –

“Among those who are being saved.”

To me this speaks of that sweet fragrance of fellowship we get when we’re with other believers.  It’s like when I was a kid and came home from school, I knew my favorite calabash uncle was visiting the moment I walked in the door because his cigar smoke filled the house.  Now, I’m not saying we should all smoke cigars but I am saying that when Christians are together we should smell up the place with joy, praise, love, and good will.  It should be obvious to one and all that this is a group of Christians meeting together.  Is it?

Paul also says we stink…

To non-believers –

“Among those who are perishing.”

Anyone publicly talking about our Lord, openly praying in restaurants, showing respect for God’s name in our conversations, or sharing what God has done in our lives, has at one time or another run into folks who just aren’t happy that we’re doing those things.  They are angry, resentful, and sometimes outright hostile.  Why?  Because we remind them that on some very deep, very buried level they know that they are indeed perishing.   God’s Holy Spirit is subtly communicating to them that they need a Savior to take care of their sin problem… And they don’t like it!  And they don’t like being reminded of it by “good smelling” Christians.  So, they are hostile.  Is that you?

Another Apostle named John wrote that we also smell…

To God Himself –

Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.   Revelation 8:3–4

The prayers of believers like you and me are like incense that rises to God’s face (and His nose).  It is one of my private meditations that all my prayers be considered by the Lord a “pleasing aroma” and not just an annoying screaming demand to get my own way.  Are yours?

So, how ya smellin’ there brother and sister?  Join me in praying that we each be a more fragrant aroma of Christ to all those around us… and to the Lord, Himself.

Think about it…


  • Sue says:

    Good job of writing the tale (or should I say “tail”!) I can verify that this is a totally true story. Sometimes the truth is much better than fiction.

    • Len Allen says:

      I think you’re commenting on the post about “riding in on our own abilities” – Don’t know how it got on this post but I thank you for the comment. Keep reading and keep commenting.

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