"For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing." 2 Corinthians 2:15
Worship leader Anthony Evans tells of his time as a contestant on the pop culture show, "The Voice." One of the celebrity judges spoke to him of his need to be totally engaged with the song he sang, to hold nothing of himself back from it. Only by doing so would he really connect with his audience, and she warned him of the consequences of failing in that. She said, "the audience can always smell a rat." They knew the difference between what was presented with a living passion, and what was nothing more than an act, a performance.
Whether we want it or not, the professing believer in Christ lives out their faith in front of an "audience," and that audience will always "smell a rat" when the "presentation" of that life comes nowhere near His words of life that we say are the foundation of our being. They recognize the difference between the act and the reality. Do we?
In 2 Corinthians, Paul speaks to this very thing. The true follower of Christ will be an aroma, a fragrance, to both those who live in His Kingdom, and those existing outside of it. That fragrance will be one of hope, joy, peace, encouragement, and holiness for those who know and live in Him. It is the fragrance of the life and reality of Jesus Christ. There can be no sweeter aroma. To those who presently live outside of Him, the fragrance of such lives may well bring some very unwelcome sensations to the heart and spirit. Conviction of the hopelessness of a life lived apart from Him. Conviction of need. Need of deliverance from the penalty of sin and the captivity in which it holds them. Conviction that apart from Him there is no hope, no peace, no joy. Conviction that what the world offers in substitution for these can never satisfy that yearning for the eternal that He has placed in every heart. This is an unwelcome fragrance to the flesh, yet at the same time, a welcome aroma to that longing that is found in the heart of every one born into this world, and that can only be satisfied in Him. Such lives, both within and without the Kingdom are our audience. This audience will know what's genuine and what isn't. They can smell a rat. What part of "the rat" might they smell in us?
As you and I step out into our day by day world, where do our passions lie? Is our heart's desire to know Him to the fullest and in every aspect of life? Do we yearn for those we live our lives before to see Him in our lives? Do we live with such a passion for Him that we not only connect heart to heart with Him, but heart to heart with a beholding church and world? Movie and play critics call acting performances that fail to do this "wooden." There is nothing believable in the performance. The critic has smelled the rat. For the follower of Christ, our lives are lived out on a Kingdom and world sized stage. The critics will abound, but it is not actually they we live our lives out for. We do so for Him...with passion. We don't perform for Him. We live for and in Him. With all of our hearts. We want to be a rich fragrance to Him. And here's the beauty; when we are, we're a sweet fragrance to both the church and the world. There is no smell of the rat. Just the sweet aroma of Christ. Is that what your life, walk, and witness are? Or, are they smelling the rat?