While I was reading in the Gospel of Luke, I began to think about the plight of the widow and the sacrificial giving of her mite. It occurred to me that worship can be expressed in cents as well as scents. Like the widow, it’s possible to be nearly centless and still worship God.
There is another side to worship in which it is never scentless. When you approach God is the right way, your worship is the aroma of sweet-smelling incense that floats into His presence; and, it’s much like the scene in Revelation 5:8:
The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of fragrant incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
When your life mirrors the life of Jesus, you love as Christ loved, and your life becomes an offering and a sacrifice to God just like a sweet-smelling aroma:
Be imitators of God as dear children, and walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and has given Himself for us, as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma (Ephesians 5:1-3).
Based on the chart below, people are willing to spend their money to control their bodily odors. Shouldn’t we invest the same amount in time and effort to make sure we are as pleasing to God as we are to the rest of the world?
|Proctor and Gamble
Before you turn your nose up to my earlier question, consider it in the light of this verse:
Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and who makes known through us the fragrance that consists of the knowledge of him in every place. For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved ~2 Corinthians 2:14
How sweet is your aroma?
If you know anything about sports, you know that the Kansas City Royals just won a hard fought and entertaining battle on the baseball fields of Kansas City and New York; and, they have been crowned World Series Champions.
With child-like enthusiasm, baseball fans from near and far are descending on Kansas City today to celebrate with the Royals. They will savor the sweet taste of victory and delight as their team winds its way through the streets of Royals Town USA.
The language of sports has been spoken for thousands of years. Paul used the competition of the Isthmian Games as means to share spiritual truth. He also spoke of a parade of champions that features Jesus as the parade Marshall: “Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him (2 Corinthians 2:14).”
The parade route in Kansas City with be lined with thousands of spectators, and it will be a great time for adoring fans to shout out to their favorite players. The procession that Paul spoke of is one of triumph that calls you to more than a mere spectator. You are to be a participator and speak up for Jesus.
You are the means through which God spreads the sweet fragrance of His love and mercy. Wave your banner, and give thanks for the victory you have in Him.
Last week was a rough week for the FCC family, and it was harder for some than it was for others. It’s always difficult when you’re trying to manufacture enough strength to keep your feet on the ground; your head above the clouds; your shoulder to the wheel; your nose to the grindstone; your ear to the ground; your eye on the ball; and, finger on the pulse.
Take a moment to look, again, at each of the mantras above. What is the common theme? Isn’t it spiritual desertion through physical exertion? If you’re not careful, you’ll cliché yourself to death with this sort of bumper sticker philosophy.
The key to managing life is not the saccharine sentimentalism that’s posted on Facebook. Meaningless and sappy slogans are a poor substitute for the vitality of the vine that is promised by Jesus in John 15. Here are the key points to what Jesus said concerning this relationship:
- Productivity: The branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me (15:4)
- Prayer: If you abide in me, and my words abide in you . . . (15:7)
- Proof: By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples (15:8)
- Practical Obedience: If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love (15:10).
The key to escaping a tireless existence is to entirely focus on the principles above. Develop the habit of abiding in Christ by interceding in prayer, ingesting His word, and intentionally obeying His commands.
When you abide in Him, you’re nourished by the vitality of the Vine, and you can “Be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma (Ephesians 5:1-2).”
I’m not trying to raise a big stink about your sweat; however, I would like to share the sweaty truth about your perspiration:
- Men sweat about twice as much as women, and both sweat less with age.
- Your sweat contains an antibiotic peptide, dermcidin, that hinders the growth of bacteria on your skin.
- Your feet have about 250,000 sweat glands that can produce up to a half pint of liquid each day.
- You have two types of sweat glands: The eccrine glands which cover most of your body. The apocrine glands are the second type, but they are only found in your armpits and genital region.
- Fortunately your body produces very little apocrine perspiration: It’s the source of your stinky smelly body odor.
By now you may be asking yourself: “What does Stan find so inspiring about perspiring?” Here’s your answer: There is a correlation between the interaction of the apocrine sweat and the eccrine sweat and a statement that Jesus made.
- Your body produces eccrine sweat in much larger quantities. This is good and bad. It’s good because of its cooling effect; however, it is bad because when it spreads it mingles with the apocrine sweat and spreads it over more of your body; and, the smelly odor goes along for the ride.
- The apocrine sweat has the same effect as the yeast that Jesus and Paul spoke of in the New Testament.
In Matthew 16, Jesus warned the disciples about the “yeast” of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Paul taught the same concept when he wrote to the church at Galatia: “A little yeast leavens the whole lump of dough.”
In the Bible, yeast is symbolic of sin, and Jesus and Paul used this symbolism to warn of the harmful effects of false teaching. A little bit of it has a tremendous amount of influence.
What effect does the leaven of sin have on your prayer life? In Revelation 8, John likened the prayers of the saints to the sweet smelling incense that was burnt on the golden altar. When they find their way to the throne of God, do your prayers have the smell of incense or do they have a stench?
The next time Mother Nature cranks the thermometer up to about 100 degrees and your shirt is drenched in sweat, you might want to give some thought to this stinking blog.
With the foul weather, frigid temperatures, and bone-chilling wind, it’s hard to believe that the first day of Spring is about a month way. Proof of this is the frequent appearance of seed catalogues in my daily mail.
Bright red roses and other fragrant flowers will soon be in full blossom. As the buds of these plant begin to form, gardeners will sniff about them in anticipation of their pleasing aroma.
The scent of a flowering plant is designed to attract insects for the purpose of pollination. In 1953 chemists could only recognize 20 of the chemicals in a rose’s fragrant bouquet, but now they can identify 1,700 different scent compounds.
The sweet fragrance of flowers reminds me of a couple of verses in the Bible:
- In Revelation 5:8, John speaks of “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”
- In Ephesians 5:1-2, Paul encourages us to “be imitators of God, as beloved children, and to walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
I’ll leave you with a question to consider: Are you know for raising a stink or for a life that is “a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God?”