How Do I Smell?

As I said goodbye to my girlfriend earlier this week and got ready to get in my car, she asked me to wait as she disappeared.

Moments later, she came walking towards me with a can of deodorant. And as lovingly and gently as one can, she held it out to me with a sympathetic smile, saying: “You might want this.”

The message was clear.
In that moment,
I wasn’t smelling my best.

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

2 Corinthians 2v15 (NIV)

In the book of Exodus, God instructs Moses as to how the Israelite people should worship Him.

God talks to Moses about:

The Tabernacle.
The atonements.
The priests.

And the smell…?

One of the key elements of God’s temple is the altar of incense.

God imparts to Moses very specific instructions for this altar:

Its shape.
Its size.
Its smell.

34 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, 35 and make a fragrant blend of incense,the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. 36 Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. 37 Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the Lord.

Exodus 30v34-37 (NIV)

Which got me thinking, if my body is a temple (1 Corinthians 6v19-20), then what does my altar of incense smell like? Or more to the point, what do I smell like?

Hmm…probably not very good. And definitely no better than I did earlier this week, when handed a bottle of deodorant by a very gracious girlfriend.

And why is that?

It would be easy to assume that my actions and behaviours are what constitute my individual smell.

They are definitely an ingredient of the smell.

But I think there has to be more to it than that.

In Exodus, God details to Moses the ingredients and recipe for a most pleasing incense.

He then commands Moses to consecrate that smell.

It is to be set apart – for God only.

For when our lives our set apart for God and consecrated to Him – that is a pleasing aroma.

And maybe that is why I don’t quite feel like I am smelling quite so fresh, right now.

If my girlfriend can hold out a can of deodorant towards me in love, offering me the opportunity to smell better – then how much more is the Lord, my God, the Creator of life, and Saviour of all, standing in front of me, in love, offering me the opportunity to smell better,

to become a fragrant offering.

The offer is there.

I have two choices. To smell meh. Or to smell great.

I want to smell pleasing and unique, set apart for God.

I choose to accept the deodorant – both literally and figuratively.

My question to you then is:

How do you smell?


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