But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ, and spreads through us in every place the scent of knowing Him. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are a scent of death leading to death, but to others, a scent of life leading to life. And who is competent for this? -2 Corinthians 2:14-15 HCSB
In our band, we’ve been talking a lot lately about what we are portraying to our congregation during worship. Do our faces show the love of Christ? Are we engaging with people at Hope in a way that shows them the way to Jesus? Last night, I shared with the band the verse above. It’s very easy for us, being the critically minded individuals that we are, to fall into a trap of perpetual criticism. We get caught up in the gear, the mechanics of playing our instrument or singing, and before long, the stench we are producing is just that…a stench…rather than the pleasing aroma we are called to be in Christ.
Gandhi once said:
I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
Ouch! That should be a wake-up call for us. No, Christians aren’t and can’t be perfect. But we must realize that everything we do reflects Jesus to the world.
No rotten talk should come out of your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear. And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit, who sealed you for the day of redemption. All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. -Ephesians 4:29-32 HCSB
I think this is a pretty tall order. So what’s the practical application of this verse? Here’s what I do: Whenever I begin to think something negative (even about myself), I try to immediately replace that thought with something positive. For instance, when I get down about my weight (still got some baby weight to lose), I turn my thoughts to something I’ve accomplished. When someone comes to my office and complains about this person or that person, I immediately think of something nice to say about that person to the complainer. It’s as simple as creating a habit…a positive one.
Perhaps the stench we begin to produce is all a matter of us losing sight of a clear perspective on something. It’s incredibly easy, in a world bombarded by negative thinking towards government, politics, education, etc, to become like the world in its ignoring of the beauty in life and in other people. But guess what? We are called to think and behave differently than the world, which means we must work extra hard at having a positive outlook on life. After all, aren’t we the redeemed? We get to spend our eternity in heaven with the Father! That is a total perspective changer!
I hope that when I leave this earth for my heavenly home, it’s not necessarily said of me that I was a good singer or even a good worship leader. I hope people look at my life and say, “She smelled like Jesus!”