What's That Smell?

Smell.A neutral word, but with plenty of synonyms.On the pleasant side, we speak of aroma, scent and fragrance.  On the negative side we have odor, stench and stink.  Smell can be delicate or pungent, delightful or putrid.I have no trouble thinking of some of my favorite smells:  peach cobbler in the oven, my kitchen at Christmas, orange blossoms, gardenias, freshly bathed babies.  Fragrance and aroma definitely apply.It is just as easy to name some of my least favorite smells:  rotting food, tomato juice, mildew, cigarette smoke, the meat-packing plant on the road to our home.   To be avoided.God loves to use “smell” methaphorically.  The Scriptures are filled with aromatic allusions:The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked make themselves a stench and are filled with shame. (Proverbs 13:5) I will drive the northern horde far from you…and its stench will go up; its smell will rise.  (Joel 2:20) You shall offer up in smoke the whole ram on the altar; it is a burnt offering to the LORD: it is a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the LORD. (Exodus 29:18) …and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma(Ephesians 5:2)But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ's triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.  For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?  (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)So which is it?Will our lives be a stench to heaven and drive away those who are perishing?Or will we live and love in such a way that our sweet scent draws those perishing out of the rankness of death into the fragrance and life that Jesus gives?c2011 Judy Douglass