We rarely talk about the aroma of Jesus, and I am not sure why. Though we talk often of hearing Him, and some see Him, few understand the sweet perfume of His wonderful presence. This is sad for the aroma of Jesus is an incredible experience.
The scent of food
One of the great struggles of being homeless is finding food. In our situation, our 4 mouths plus a bird and a dog multiplied this difficulty. Our culinary adventures in the valley of despair would move from feast to famine; with a heavy emphasis on famine. When we ate, our menu was… diverse. Nothing but ramen noodles for a month, check. Mustard soup, check. Straight mayo, check. And did you know that a small packet of free sugar from a local coffee shop can function as a full 3 course meal? 🙂
Now that God has placed us in this motel room our cooking curiosity continues, albeit without a kitchen. With just a small fridge, few appliances and paltry supplies we have eaten like kings occasionally. God is so faithful to provide what we need. Recently, when we could afford a secondhand slow cooker, we jumped at the chance to have real hot food again.
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This morning, the fragrance was incredible. It filled the whole room with the savory aroma of slow cooked beef and cinnamon. All this was coming from our little slow cooker. When meat spends so much time cooking, the aroma is unmistakable and pleasing. Your nose dances a happy jig at the delightful odor. As my nostrils inhaled this incense of food God directed my thoughts to a different scent.
The stench of ‘self’
There are odors in the spirit as in the natural. Each human is born with the ‘self’ nature. Unfortunately, this malodorous squatter within carries a stench that is quite unpleasant. Every one of us gives off the stink of ‘self’ to one degree or another. The question is how much ‘self’ do we carry? We are very poor judges on this point. Like a long time smoker cannot smell the smoke on them, we cannot identify the stench of ‘self’ we have inside.
God can sniff out the offending odor and others can too so what is their verdict? Do we still stink of ‘self’?
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In Jeremiah 48:11 we read, “Moab has been at ease from his youth, and he has settled on his lees [like wine] and has not been drawn off from one vessel to another, neither has he gone into exile. Therefore his taste remains in him, and his scent has not changed.” Curious verse. God compares Moab to wine that has settled detritus at the bottom of the bottle. Because Moab was not decanted his detritus and the awful taste remained; ruining the wine. God is saying Moab stinks of ‘self’.
Decanting removes the impurities that sour the bouquet of the wine. It requires pouring the wine from one bottle to another to leave the waste behind. God had not poured out Moab so his ‘self’ remained. In believers this pouring out happens in the wilderness where ‘self’ is removed. In this desolate place God uses many events to expose our ‘self’ nature so we can repent.
The aroma of Jesus
When we read the Bible, we learn that Jesus emptied Himself voluntarily. Not that Jesus ever had the ‘self’ nature, but His love for the Father is so strong that He emptied Himself so He could be filled with nothing but the Father. This is the sweet perfume of sacrifice Jesus carried to earth. The same aroma of Jesus the early disciples inhaled. Jesus is still the model for us today.
In spending time with Jesus these early disciples were emptied of ‘self’ so the aroma of Jesus came through. In Acts 4:13 we have evidence of this. ”Now when they saw the boldness and unfettered eloquence of Peter and John and perceived that they were unlearned and untrained in the schools [common men with no educational advantages], they marveled; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”
The stench of ‘self’ left and those around these disciples could only smell the aroma of Jesus in them.
The aroma of Jesus flows from time spent with Him
We can spend time with Jesus, soaking in His presence, just as the early disciples did. Following Him in faithful obedience will allow Him to draw off our stench of ‘self’. The key is to breathe in His sweet aroma of sacrifice, humility and love while letting go, through repentance, our stinky ‘self’. Others can detect this aroma of Jesus in us, much like we could detect the cinnamon and beef in our slow cooker. Can others tell, by your scent alone, that you have spent time in the presence of God?
Those filled with ‘self’ and demons hate the aroma of Jesus and will recoil. Those that are passionately pursuing their Beloved will inhale this pleasing aroma and be drawn to us.
Our point is that you can tell where you are spending time by the scent you carry. If you are not following Jesus in self-sacrifice and obedience, the stench of ‘self’ will remain in you. Spending time with Jesus will only be beneficial if we allow God to pour out our ‘self’ nature and the aroma of Jesus replaces it. This is always our choice.
Do we want to carry the aroma of Jesus or do we want our stench of ‘self’ to remain?
Homer and Wanda