The love of God gives off an aroma like sweet perfume. What does a transformed life look like that would exude such sweetness to those around them? Paul tells believers how in his second letter to the church in Corinth. They were needing some help in living like true believers, so Paul was sending them letters of encouragement to keep them on the right path in their faith.
Read 2 Corinthians 2:14-3:6 and see how Paul helps believers to live out their faith with a sweet aroma of God’s love.
Notice how Paul begins, “But thank God!” Everything begins and ends with God. To walk in a way worthy of what Christ did for you, you must be thankful. A thankful heart is able to receive the sweet love of Christ as well as give it out to those around you.
Now, look at what he says next, “He has made us His captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.” Those around you will take notice in how you live your life. The prayer of every righteous believer is that others will desire to have what you have and come to Christ too.
Paul reminds the Corinthian church that your faith will be perceived in one of two ways: 1. People will not care for your lifestyle. You are a truth teller through word and deed, and that will convict those who are perishing. They may attack you in some way, or ignore and distance themselves from you. They walk indifferent to God and His ways. 2. People that are being saved, you become a lighthouse out in a dark harbor. They watch and learn from how you live, and God works within their hearts to become more like His Son; just as you are doing as you watch their lives reflect Christ.
The task at hand for every believer is not easy. Paul asks, “Who is adequate for such a task as this?” No one can live out the sweet aroma of Jesus Christ in their own efforts. Many try, as Paul mentions those who preach for profit as an example. Every true believer preaches the Word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority.
“Know that God is watching us.”17
Paul continues with a question that you and I must ask daily, “Are we beginning to praise ourselves again?” Our human nature loves to take credit for all the good that we do. We also like to blame others for the bad. It is good to remember that your faith is not about you. It is all about God and His Son Jesus Christ. Your faith must be fueled by the Holy Spirit for it take root and grow as you learn to become less as Christ becomes more; see John 3:30.
“Your life should reflect this (sweet aroma), like a letter written on your heart where others can recognize the good work being done through your life and other believers.” (see verse 3:2)
Paul wants believers to know that we represent Christ to a dying world. Do others see Christ in you? The Holy Spirit wrote a beautiful love story within your heart for the world to see. So, “be confident,” Paul says. When you trust God wholeheartedly, you can trust Jesus, and if you can trust Jesus, then there is nothing stopping you from living out His love.
Again, Paul reiterates how no one is qualified to do Kingdom work on their own. Every believer is qualified because of God. When you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, He changes you from a perishing soul to a minister of His new covenant, written by the Spirit; see verses 5-6.
“Under this new covenant, the Spirit gives life.”6
When it comes to the truths that Paul wrote about, how are you doing in your faith? Are you a sweet aroma where others see the glory of Jesus Christ? Are others being drawn to God and His Word through your lifestyle? God is with you as you learn and grow and go deeper in faith with Christ. He will take you from glory to glory in His transformation process, then a day will come when He will take you home to be with Him forever.
Be the sweet aroma that God is wanting you to be.