WE ARE THE FRAGRANCE OF CHRIST
- Key Verse
- "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life." (2 Corinthians 2:14-16a)
- READ THE CHAPTER
The knowledge of Christ is the sweet aroma of the fully devoted follower.
ReflectionsThere are few things in life I enjoy more than the smell of a freshly baked apple pie. The anticipation of that first bite starts the second I get a whiff of that splendid goodness. Conversely, the smell of burnt hair can make me clear out of a room faster than seeing my dear Aggies lose to the evil Longhorns. Odor is that powerful; it's a complex process involving the central nervous system that can evoke psychological and physiological responses. Did you know mothers can identify their biological children by body odor?
As God's children, we take on His characteristics. We are in relation with God, and the smell of the Almighty permeates our lives. We are transformed, and those who come into contact with us will find this change either sweetly aromatic or, sadly, like the stench of death. This radically new life results in service to one another as we exercise our spiritual gifts. It also proceeds with a character metamorphosis that becomes the very life of Christ in and through us (2 Corinthians 5:17).
In this chapter, Paul is referring to the the Roman triumphal procession, an act familiar to the Corinthians. After conquering foreign lands, the Romans returned the spoils to Rome, marching through the city. Incense was burned along the route. To the Romans, it was a radiating perfume, the smell of victory. To those who were defeated, it was the stench of death. Paul's own life was a perfect example of this radiating perfume. The aroma of the knowledge of God was spread wherever Paul went, from Philippi to Corinth to Colossae. The effects were changed lives, new churches, and spiritual growth.
Just as the Roman generals led their procession with the soldiers following in line behind them, the elect march behind Christ enjoying the benefits of His victory. With Christ leading our procession, we live an authentic Christian life that is pleasing to God. May our lives be the sweet fragrance of our Heavenly Father to those that are perishing and draw them to Christ instead of the stench of death for those that reject Christ.
Discussion Questions1. Are there any significant events in your life that are attached to odor? Are you immediately taken back to that time when you unexpectedly find yourself in the presence of the smell today?
2. What scent are you giving off to those who come into contact with you?
3. Can your friends and family detect the scent of the knowledge of Christ in your life? How long would it take for a stranger to be able to detect that same aroma?
WEEKLY FAMILY ACTIVITY
2 Corinthians 1-5 (July 9-13)
Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18.
• Verse 7 talks about our bodies being like fragile clay jars, what do you think this means?
• How do you see your body being fragile (both physically and spiritually)?
• Have you ever watched someone else experience verses 8 & 9; that is, go through really hard times, but not be "crushed"?
• What did you see in that person? What helped that person to continue to trust Jesus and show others He is faithful?
• What are ways that you might be "crushed" or "pressed"? (Think about school, work, sports, friends.)
• How can you trust the "treasure" inside of you to shine through even in the hard times?
Activity: Take time to write an encouraging letter to a person you have seen stay faithful and shine for Jesus even in hard times. And then write a letter to someone you know who is in the middle of hard times. Be sure to encourage them with Scripture, reminding them of the treasure they have and who is faithful. Now mail the letters to each of them.