Agree? This statement may not surprise you coming from Coco Chanel, a 20th century fashionista who made headlines for being ahead of her time. I’m not sure that I would agree with her though as I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received a headache within minutes of being in the company of a woman who seemed to bathe in perfume before her arrival.
Fragrance is a part of our daily life. As children, the smell of chocolate chip cookies drew us salivating into the kitchen and to this day, you might not be able to make them without reminiscing about your mom. Other not so endearing smells cause us to cover our noses, hold our breath and run for fresh air.
In Biblical times, incense was often used in worship and scented oils were used to anoint priests and kings. As the oil covered them, running down their faces and pouring onto their garments they were becoming an all over perfume-a sweet savor to all who were around them.
I find it interesting that the Bible talks so much about our fragrance, although not surprisingly it has nothing to do with Coco Chanel. It has everything to do with Jesus. In this passage below, Paul is speaking to the believers in Corinth. He is trusting the Spirit of God to lead him to the cities he should go to and to whom he should preach. Here are his words below:
Now thanks be to God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the aroma of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are to God a sweet smell of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the smell of death to death; and to the other the smell of life to life. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16a
Paul recognizes that even the sweet aroma of Christ can send those who reject him running away with a raging headache, but to those who accept him, they are the fragrance of life.
Have you ever been hugged by an older woman whose scent sticks with you the rest of the day? You might find yourself smiling and thinking of that person as the aroma reminds you of your earlier encounter. You begin to think of her life-giving words and the wisdom she offered you. Or maybe she hugged you, a young mother who needed a shoulder to cry on. Her scent brings healing to your aching soul.
As believers in Jesus, we are to carry a sweet smell; a beautifully poured out fragrance to everyone. Our lives should offer up encouragement and love. We should speak life and truth, allowing our “scent” to linger and even change the world we live in.
As a wife, my scent should linger long onto my husband. Not just because I kissed him good before he walked out the door, but because my words are encouraging and sharpening to his soul. King Solomon’s wife says this of him:
“Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the young women love you!” (Song of Solomon 1:3)
Not only does she affirm her adoration of him personally, but she also tells him how adoring other women are of him. In other words, “You’re HOT and everyone knows it!” She says that his name is like a sweet-smelling perfume, poured out to enjoy! These words speak life and will linger long in his heart.
As a mother, my scent should be poured out all day onto my children. Like God’s anointed who receive oil onto their heads, pouring onto their face and descending to their clothes, God’s Spirit is offered to me. I spend time with God to be filled with His Spirit and then I can give to my children out of my overflow.
I’ll admit. Some days it gets stinky in here. I try to do things in my own strength and my patience wears thin. My attitude gets nasty as I grow selfish or tired and I begin to “smell” like nothing short of a garbage dump. But when I spend time with the Lord, inviting his “fragrance” to invade my heart, my scent changes and my house can again be filled with the scent of life. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control become the incense that permeates every room. I can’t tell you how badly I want this to be true of me-everyday!
So maybe Coco was onto something. As I bear the fragrance of the Lord, He gives me direction and a future, which allows my scent to permeate others and the name of Christ to be praised!