The fragrance of obedience is like a pleasing aroma in God’s nostrils. It’s why the Apostle Paul wrote regarding the importance of offering ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. The simple act of yielding submissively to the will and ways of God, in obedience, is to God – as a fresh spring breeze is to us. I love the smell of freshly mown grass. Perhaps it’s one of the pulls that compels me toward the golf course. It gets in my blood and bones and drives me outside to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. This scent has a powerful effect on me.
The odor of disobedience will often have the exact opposite effect on God. In fact Jesus said to the church at Laodicea, that the putrefaction he smelled in this church caused him to want to hurl. Revelation 3:16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Think: rotten eggs, spoiled milk, three-month-old leftovers, or a maggot-infested corpse. How awful we must smell to God when we stubbornly refuse His grace, or neglect to listen to His voice.
People of faith, walking in faith, serving God, each other, and the strangers around them, are living out the Old Testament picture of a burnt offering. The sacrifice of themselves to God’s will is the image of the smoke rising from the altar all the way to God’s throne in heaven. The ultimate completion of human purpose is to glorify God, and this brings God great joy. Psalm 37:23 The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way.
Scent is one of the ways we were created in God’s image. In your own bible, conduct a search for how many times the phrase “pleasing aroma” is used in the imagery of Old Testament sacrifices. The scent (aroma) is the bond of a sacrifice meant to represent complete obedience to the will of God.
Hence, scent is a powerful force in our lives today. It has been so since Adam and Eve were created with this discerning sense of smell. Scent can be a powerful attraction, or it can repel us in ways even more repulsive than I’ve already mentioned. One of the unique things about scent is its ability to stimulate memories. Even now, after all these years, I can smell my mother when I pick up a “Puffs” tissue. It was distinctive to her and those long years of sickness.
What is the scent that represents your life today? I suggest the physical may not be nearly as significant as the spiritual scent you wear. Fragrance or odor? That is the question.