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The Aroma of Christ

That’s a weird phrase, innit?

So my wife bought a set of scented plug-ins to give the house an extra boost when you walk in certain rooms.  Good idea, we get those from time to time.

Problem is the brand she purchased (I won’t mention the name 😒) just didn’t work.  The entire pack.  All of them.  Fail.  Zero fragrance.  Ugh…

So we went back to our trusted brand, Bath and Body Works Wallflowers.  You know, a true manly brand that I enjoy.  Everything from Aromatherapy scents, to fresh linen, to flowery weird scents…they’re all amazing.  Don’t care, I love em.

I just knelt down to pray here in Panera Bread a min ago before I speak at a college in about an hour and this verse silently arose in my mind:

“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”
2 Corinthians 2:15 (ESV)

What an interesting thought…

Those who follow Christ, truly and wholeheartedly, flaws and all, are like a pleasant aroma to The Father.  Like the aroma of His Son.  Makes me think of how your loved ones have a certain smell to them, when you hug them your memory and senses come alive with your love for them and their presence.

We’re like that.

Here’s what I get from this beautiful verse and my disappointment in the unnamed plug-ins:

The Aroma of Christ to God…

Our job is to pleasantly represent Christ wherever we go.

In doing so, we please God the Father and have an opportunity to show Who the Christ is to those around us.  When I walk into a room and smell a pleasant fragrance, the place where I am now becomes a pleasant experience and a great memory.  We get to be that.  I think God enjoys that.

The plug-ins that didn’t work did nothing for my home.  They took up energy by being plugged in, and a little bit of space.  But they added nothing.  They didn’t even stink…they just didn’t do that they were supposed to do.

If you claim to be in Christ (or don’t), we all know, are, or have been someone who doesn’t represent Him well all of the time.  Maybe not horrific people (though we know them too, lol), but just aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

The problem is that the representation of the “brand” is not memorable, perhaps even wasteful of the name it carries.  Or, in a worst case scenario, stinks if it’s really off base.

If we have received “such a great salvation” (Heb. 2:3), why would we waste it by not being a fragrant aroma wherever we go?  How do we represent “the Kingdom of Christ and God” (Eph. 5:5 ) wherever we are?  Are we doing that well?  Or does it stink by how we live, act, speak, and treat people? Do we live as those who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13)?  Why be wasteful?

This isn’t perfectionism or “doing better,” but more about just “being” and conforming to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29) on a daily basis.

When I walk by somebody I just want to smell like Jesus.  I want the fragrance I give off to be godly and glorifying to the Father, just like Jesus.

"Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked."
1 John 2:6 (ESV)

Here’s another thought:

Among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

Everyone smells the same thing.

When you walk into a room that has a fragrant scent, no matter where you’re coming from, what you believe, or what’s next, everyone smells the same thing.  There’s a unique unity in it.

You walk in my crib, you will probably smell eucalyptus and spearmint no matter who you are.  Can’t escape that if you enter my “presence.”

I’d hope that no matter what you believe, if you enter the presence of someone who claims Christ you’d get a whiff of the aroma of Christ.  I’d hope that if you claim Him, that you give off that whiff.  

Scripture makes a clear delineation between “saved” and “unsaved,” which falls along the lines of “in Christ” (sins paid for) or “not in Christ” (sins not paid for).  And if you don’t like the idea of “sins” and “needing forgiveness” then that message will be offensive (1 Pet. 2:7, 8, Matt. 10:22).  I don’t think there’s any way around that.

The fragrance of the Christ follower should be the same.  It should be pleasant.  Even if it’s not everyone’s favorite scent at the moment.  If you don’t like eucalyptus and spearmint, there’s nothing I can do about it.  **I mean, I guess I can change the wallflower, in which case my analogy is unraveling quickly…dang it.

But I don’t want to change my “smelling like Christ.”  I won’t.  So if you don’t like that, then I can still love you regardless, still invite you over, still show up.  But if that’s what I smell like, I’ll smell like that everywhere.  My prayer is that I’m pleasant.

I pray the same for you.  I pray your time with Christ and others is a fragrant aroma that glorifies God.  Not with just pressure to “do better,” but from who you are.

Don’t stink, saints.


Nigel "Legin" Anderson is a spoken word artist, gospel hip hop artist, podcaster, and preacher/speaker who uses transparency to connect and art to communicate with his listeners. Inspired by his father’s battle with addiction, Legin speaks about fatherlessness to forgiveness, as well as racial reconciliation and urban apologetics amongst other topics, and the hope of the gospel in his music.