Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fragrance in the Garden

Read 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 and Philippians 4: 14-20

From a distance, the “wild” flower bed in our back yard looks beautiful. Now, looks can be deceiving – especially if you are looking for fragrant flowers! On closer inspection, I discovered that many of the flowers planted by Sandra had no significant smell. However, hidden in the maze of colorful flowers, there are bunches of brilliant orange flowers which projected a mild, sweet-smelling fragrance.

The contrast in the garden is also found in life. There are persons who live a colorful life and project a bright – perhaps dazzling – outward image. But, such an image may conceal unattractive qualities that repel rather than attract others. Then, there are persons who have made the conscious decision to choose a life of following Christ as Savior and director of their lives. Like the orange flowers in our garden, they reveal bright colors with a difference – a sweet fragrance that attracts. In this case, the attraction is the inward beauty and fragrant of Jesus. To first century Christians, the Apostle Paul wrote:

“…for we are to God the aroma [or fragrance] of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 2:15)

The word for fragrance a sweet smelling aroma is especially linked with an offering that is pleasing and acceptable to God. Philippians 4:18 is a reminder that those believers who honor God by giving generously to meet genuine needs are ultimately presenting a fragrant sweet smelling offering to God. It is acceptable to God. The result can then be the attraction of others to faith in Jesus because of the sweet fragrance of Christ in our lives and actions.

What are you offering to God? What are you communicating to others around you? Does your life emit a sweet smelling fragrance that draws others to consider the Savior that you profess?

Reflect: Are you just a bright flower or do you stand out with distinction as you give out the aroma of Jesus to those who genuinely need Him today? Start by imitating the One whose life is the supreme example of a fragrant offering.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

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