Two Aromas

Some people are attractive, like magnets—Carol Mayberry, Tom Eklund, Jean Fleming, Jay Cline. If they threw a party, everyone would want an invitation. People look for them in a crowded room and hope for a chance to shake hands or say hello. I’ve seen people actually burst into a cheer when Tom entered the room.

But these four go beyond “magnetic personality.” They attract others to Christ. They live a life that results in others wanting to be closer to Jesus.

I want that. I want it bad.

I told my husband about it. “Some people are so attractive—I mean, they are magnetic people that attract others to Christ. You know, like Carol. I want to be like that.”

Charles nodded.

“Because of that, I’ve been meditating on something I came across in Proverbs.” I told him the verses:

Let lovingkindness and truth never leave you.
Bind them around your neck.
Write them on the tablet of your hearts.
Then you will have good repute
with God and men.
(Proverbs 3:3-4)

I kept thinking out loud. “So it seems like lovingkindness and truth would help me get better at drawing people to Jesus.”

Charles gave a thoughtful pause. “Those are good verses,” he said, “but I don’t think they’re about the attractiveness you’re talking about. There’s a difference between having a good reputation and having that magnetism for Christ.”

Ah.

I thought, then, of those verses about being a fragrant aroma. I made a mental note, a little to-do item: Copy those “aroma” verses and meditate on them.

I never got around to it. (That’s why mental notes are inferior to written ones.)

But God got me around to it.

Five months later, my Bible reading plan took me to Second Corinthians—the “aroma” verses.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His 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 2:14-16)

I used to think being a sweet fragrance for Christ meant directing that fragrance to others—living so that people will like me, even if that meant conforming my personality to theirs. I have to listen to the music they like! I have to go to the mall if they like shopping! I have to be like Tom!

But my direction was all wrong. Being a sweet aroma does not mean being a people-pleaser. “We are a fragrance of Christ to God . . .”

I read the whole thing again. There are two aromas. I drew pictures of them in my journal.

One aroma is the knowledge of Christ. This aroma is from God, through me, to others.

The Knowledge-of-Christ Aroma:

The Knowledge-of-Christ Aroma journal sketch

The other aroma is me (“we are a fragrance of Christ”). This aroma is from me, to God, in the presence of others.

The Aroma of Me:

The Aroma of Me journal sketch

The knowledge-of-Christ aroma IS directed to others. But the aroma of ME is to be Godward.

I am to be a God-pleaser.

I shouldn’t worry about how people perceive the aroma of me, whether they think my life-fragrance is a sweetness or a stench. I shouldn’t adjust my life according to what people think (which seems awfully similar to fad-conforming peer pressure), but according to what God thinks.

If I want that magnetic-personality, attractive-fragrance that draws people to Christ, the point is not to please them but to please God. Then of course, though the aroma is Godward, the people around me will pick up the scent.

Father, keep reminding me that my fragrance is to You and for You. Please use me to spread the knowledge of Christ to those around me.

This Wednesday Ann Voskamp hosts a community of those who share about “The Practice of Faith.” Click on the Holy Experience badge below to read more posts on Faith!

Also linking with Bonnie Gray for Thursday’s Faith Barista Jam on Faith and Friendship. Click on the Faith Barista badge below to read more community posts!

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8 thoughts on “Two Aromas

    • I completely agree 100% with Lisa! Monica – you ARE a magnetic person for Christ, a pleasing aroma.
      I too am drawn to him when I hear your words.

      Love, love, love your diagrams. This is one of my fave posts of yours… Probably because I want to be a God-pleaser too! :)

  1. Love the pictures and your story.

    Thinking about the idea of aroma…I wonder if I attended a liturgical church that used incense during the service if I would process this differently; that is, if an aroma was associated with being in His presence, and that aroma lingered in my clothes, say, when I left the building…I don’t know. Just wondering.

  2. thank you for this reminder, monica – i love your diagrams. this makes me think of romans 12:1 where we are exhorted to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to GOD. there is an aroma that comes from this sacrifice offered up on the altar. it goes up to God, but all those around can smell it and are drawn to it. this aroma can’t be made up, it’s an inner life-essence that comes from a life lived with, through and to him. i want to live this way too.

  3. This. Is. So. Good.

    Ok, so you know how I love your Scripture doodles. But this message about people-pleasing versus God-pleasing behavior is so important to me right now. Thank you for this.

  4. There are people like that in my life who seem to have it altogether that don’t fumble with their words, stick their foot in their mouth, or have mind-freezing moments when the mouth opens and no words come forth. Then, again, God made me this way for a reason and He’s using me even when I percieve my efforts woefully inadequate.

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