Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. (Ephesians 5:2 NLT)
I love the scent of poplar trees when the sap begins to flow. It reminds me of paddling down a sun-dappled river with my friends when I was a teenager. I have to stop in a pine forest just to breathe the fragrance in the air. It carries memories of carefree Saturdays in the mountains with my family when I was a child.
My friend feels differently. The aroma of spring sends her to the pharmacy for tissues and antihistamines in preparation for allergy season. I understand. Personally, I hate the smell of motor oil. It reminds me of the disappointment of a broken car being worked on in the garage instead of taking us on another adventure. I’m obviously not a mechanic who enjoys hours tinkering under the hood.
Many passages of scripture tell us that certain aromas carry a sweet fragrant aroma of a sacrifice which is pleasing to God. I wonder if it the aroma metaphorically carries the attitude of worship to him, the way the aroma of freshly baked bread carried the message of motherlove to me.
Some passages of scriptures continue the metaphor of aroma and tell us some smells are good and some are bad. Evil rebellious people are like a bad stink to God:
All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes… These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away. (Isaiah 65:2 & 5)
A life filled with sacrificial love is pleasing aroma to God. False love (aka manipulation) smells, well, off. We say something smells fishy when we are around people whose services seem self-serving. Something is off. We detect a stink under the rose water. In contrast, the kind of love Christ demonstrated is a pleasing aroma. God discerns the attitude of the heart.
In dream symbolism the nose often represents discernment. It’s that sense that detects what usually cannot be seen. Some people have told me they can discern what spirit is operating behind the scenes in room by pleasant and unpleasant smells. Apparently demonic spirits can stink like latrines or decaying flesh.
I once detected the beautiful scent of orange blossoms while in worship with friends. No one was wearing that fragrance. It was wonderful! Have you ever sensed something like it? Let me know in the comments.
Creative Meditations for Lent, Prompt Word: Aroma