We all smelled Grandma before we’d ever see or hear her, despite her large personality.
She loved Youth-Dew from Estee Lauder, a perfume described by marketers as exotic and opulent. I described it as icky and strong. Grandma loved her favorite fragrance, as in, she loved lots and lots of it.
Because she liked it so much, the smell I didn’t care much for permeated everything around her. Her car, her apartment, her clothing all reeked of it. Later, we’d find the scent—her scent—had more staying power than she did. The furniture, keepsakes, quilts, and books she left behind thirty years ago still give hints of her signature perfume.
I’m sure my grandmother thought she smelled delightful; I did not. My opinion never stopped her from spritzing it on with abandon.
We all put our scent out into the world, regardless of our hygiene products or cologne choices. What do others catch a hint of after spending time with us? What will be the lingering scent we leave behind in the end?
Paul addressed this in 2 Corinthians,
Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.~2 Corinthians 2:15a NLT
It is humbling for us to think about our level of responsibility noted in that statement. But, there it is–we must be so Christ-like that our “fragrance” is His. Our character should be just like His. Sometimes, we are surrounded by people who exert the foul odors of jealousy, greed, gossip, and despair.
More than anyone, Paul realized we are not innately good, sweet-smelling people. Our attempts at becoming better smelling and more Christ-like are progressive—one of those “two steps forward, one step back” journeys. That’s why, in the previous verse, Paul shared the secret: the fact that becoming captives of Christ and allowing Him to fully lead our lives, allows each of us “to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume” (2:14b NLT).
Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.~2 Corinthians 2:14a-15b NLT
When we exhibit Christ most and first, we become a life-giving perfume to other believers. Our sweet fragrance manifests as kindness, genuine interest, love, concern, and encouragement.
Paul knew that not everyone would enjoy the lovely scent of Christ, though. Non-Christians may find it to be offensive; they may think we reek of death and doom.
Don’t allow others’ opinions to keep you from spritzing the scent of Christ with abandon. May you wear the sweet fragrance of Christ as well as Grandma wore her Youth-Dew, with confidence and in complete joy.
To whom have you shared the fragrance of Christ, in recent days?
Heavenly Father, help me to exude your “fragrances” of love, kindness, patience, and every spiritual scent. Thank You for the privilege of sharing Your Son’s message of salvation. Let this be my life’s mission.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright 2021: Grandma Smells: Cynthia Mendenhall: All Rights Reserved