Less Deodorant, Please

Anybody ever come up to you and say: “Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you”? Anybody ever come up to you after church and say: “God is really among you”? The first statement from an unbeliever to a believer comes from the public square and is from Zechariah 8:23; the second statement from an unbeliever to a believer and comes from church and is from 1 Corinthians 14:25. The point of both is that when the unbeliever comes in contact with the believer in public, or in the pew, what is undeniable is that the believer knows God—there is a recognized divine presence.

As believers, our lives and our worship is to spiritually exude our Lord; call it an aroma, call it an aura even. And doesn’t that make sense? God’s Spirit dwells within the believer (1 Corinthians 3:16). And He refuses to be a silent indweller; not content to hide quietly in the corners and shadows of one’s heart. That said, not all unbelievers are going to like what they smell: “God…through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16). To our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are to have the same family smell; to the world, our smell is a reminder of their failure to bow the knee.

So may I ask you a personal question: “What do you smell like?” And then a follow-up to that: “What does your worship smell like?” The Bible says our aroma is either going to attract or it is going to repel; personally as well as our worship. My concern, keeping the metaphor going, is that we all use too much deodorant. In our personal life, we keep our faith so sterile we give off no fragrance at all. In our worship, not wanting to offend, we have sanitized the sanctuary to the point it smells no different than the airport or the mall.

It’s time to put the deodorant away, church. It is time to smell a little bit. The world is in desperate need of a whiff.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
September 6, 2012   

1 comment

  1. Pastor Rich –

    Thank you for your convicting and encouraging thoughts. In a world that pushes our “spiritual” lives into the (barely) acceptable private corner, it is a good reminder that we should be different because the Holy Spirit dwells in us.

    Speaking of potentially offending others by our smell, I am reminded of Matthew 5 where Jesus offers that, “blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” And how often we our reviled, but not based on account of our following Christ and living by faith, but rather by our own obnoxious behavior, and faithless living.

    May God pour out his grace upon us that we might live by faith and speak about his loving kindness and be different because God has made us alive in Christ. And smell, in a good way.


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