The staff of the Christian radio station of which I am president often presented me with a dozen and a half long-stemmed red roses for my birthday. The roses were exquisitely beautiful, and their fragrance filled my home day and night while they were fresh. I wanted to preserve the petals by drying them, fully expecting them to remain fragrant.
I dried the petals successfully, but I was disappointed that they totally lost their fragrance! A friend reminded me that only fresh, living roses have a scent—not dead, dry ones. She told me to apply a few drops of concentrated rose oil to them, zip them snugly in a plastic bag and let the petals absorb the fragrance as if it were their own. Voila! They were fragrant again! And I could zip them into smaller baggies to give to friends while sharing a spiritual analogy.
According to the Scriptures, we should bear the fragrance of Christ wherever we are, at all times, under all circumstances—in the uncertainties, adversities, and dark times of life as well as in the light.
We are to attract people to God and to His glory, not to ourselves. Primarily however, we are to be a fragrance unto God, to lavish our love on Jesus like the expensive perfume poured by Mary on Jesus’ feet as an expression of love and gratitude for our sins forgiven.
Since only living roses share their fragrance, so only living Christ-ones can offer a fragrance to God and to others around them.
Like the dried rose petals anointed with rose oil, we must snuggle close to Jesus, abide in Him, spend time in His presence and adore Him, not only in our quiet times but “without ceasing” throughout the day and night. Moment by moment we will be “anointed with fresh oil” of the Holy Spirit (Psalm 92:10) so we can absorb His fragrance. Without our saying a word, others will know we have been close to Jesus and they will be drawn to Him. As Saint Francis of Assisi taught and demonstrated by the fragrance of his life, “Preach the gospel at all times and, if necessary, use words.”
“Thanks be to God, who unfailingly leads us on in Christ’s triumphal train, and employs us to diffuse [spread, make evident] the fragrance [aroma] of his knowledge everywhere! We are a sweet fragrance of Christ for God’s sake, both [discernable alike] among those who are being saved and those on the way to destruction [perishing]; to the latter an odor dealing death, [a fatal odor, the smell of doom] to the former a breath bringing life [from life to life, a vital fragrance, living and fresh]. For such a mission [ministry] as this, is anyone really qualified [fit, sufficient, able]?” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 Combined translations/versions)
“Follow the way of love, even as Christ loved you. He gave Himself for us as an offering to God, a gift of pleasing fragrance” (Ephesians 5:1). Christ’s sacrifice was foreshadowed by the sacrifices in the Old Testament which were called “a sweet-smelling [fragrant] oblation [sacrifice]” (Exodus 29:18, 25).
Dear Lord, so may it be through my life.
FRAGRANCE UNTO YOU
A fragrance unto You, Lord?
You have said that's what I am—
a fragrance of Christ to God
delighting You—a thought
my mind can scarcely grasp.
You, the supernatural, will to impart
to me, the natural, the fashioned clay,
the aroma of Your Manifest Presence.
Then You ask me to be, in turn,
a fragrance unto You!
When You formed us in Your image
You delighted to create our senses
to give us the enjoyment of scents.
You must enjoy the aroma of incense
since You meticulously prescribed its ingredients.
Your Manifest Glory filled the Temple
so everyone who worshipped would know
that You were there.
So I know You want me to share
the sweet essence of Your knowledge
an aroma absorbed from walking close to You
sometimes leaning on Your bosom
and release it in every place, at all times
to waft like the perfume
of a living, fresh bouquet of roses.
The thought is too wonderful for me!
Who is adequate for these things?