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Keep Your Smell

By John A Carroll

Week 37 in the Word—September 10-16, 2021

Two friends were discussing the recent resurgence of Covid in our area.

“Did you lose your taste and smell when you got sick?” asked one.

“I lost my taste but not my smell,” replied his friend. He continued, “In fact, my wife complained I still smell as bad as I did before I got sick.”

This week we will be reading about “The sniff-able Christian,” Paul’s teaching that believers are led in victory by Christ emitting the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere (2 Corinthians 2:14-16). Not everyone is pleased with this fragrance. The reaction of each person is an indication of whether that person is being saved or is perishing.

It is a heavy burden to be so identified with Jesus Christ that wherever we go others are affected by the fact that we know Him. Paul exclaims, “Who is sufficient for these things?”

When I came to trust in Christ, I anticipated that I would repel people by my faith. What I did not foresee was that while I would repel the people who were rejecting the gospel, I would be a fragrance of life among those who were being saved.

As a young Christian, I found myself among a group of students who were seriously following Jesus. They boldly proclaimed the gospel on our campus to any who would listen. As I tagged along with them, I was surprised that there were some—quite a few—who listened respectfully and showed interest in learning more from the Bible.

We typically use the term witness for the active proclaiming of the gospel. But the word witness is both a verb and a noun. We witness (a verb) and we are each a witness (a noun). It is important that we be characterized by the word witness in both senses. If you have a knowledge of Christ, it will be a fragrance to those you meet and associate with. Whether it is the pleasant fragrance of life or the stench of death will depend on the heart condition of each one we meet.

Are we sufficient for these things? No, but our Lord is. If we are His we have been given His Spirit by which we bear fruit (Galatians 5:22,23). He has sent His followers to make disciples of all nations with the promise that He is with us always, “to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Bear witness. Be a witness. Those around you will be either drawn to the fragrance or repelled by it.

Don’t lose your smell, my brother or sister. Be a sniff-able Christian.

Week of September 10-16, 2021

September 10/Day 253 The Sniff-able Christian (Proverbs 17-18; II Corinthians 2)

September 11/Day 254 Slow Growth (Proverbs 19-20; II Corinthians 3)

September 12/Day 255 The Best Is Yet to Be (Proverbs 21-22; II Corinthians 4)

September 13/Day 256 Aiming to Please God (Proverbs 23-24; II Corinthians 5)

September 14/Day 257 Dangerous Alliances (Proverbs 25-27; II Corinthians 6)

September 15/Day 258 Two Sides of Godliness (Proverbs 28-29; II Corinthians 7)

September 16/Day 259 Poverty, Joy, and Generosity: The Macedonians (Proverbs 30-31; II Corinthians 8)

This schedule and devotionals are taken from my book Concealed and Revealed: a year in the old and new testaments. Available here.