There’s nothing like a baby being plopped on top of you and the smell of ammonia rousing you into wakefulness. Being a dad has it’s perks and lately they seem to come in especially pungent smells. With the addition of cloth diapers into our family’s daily parenting rituals, fatherhood has entered an all new state of nasal excellence!
While on the one hand, being woke up by the smell of diaper death does not make for a happy morning, it was a sweet reminder that I am a dad. I can think of a million more pleasant smells that remind me I am a dad – playdough being squished under my feet, a bowl of soggy cheerios, melted chocolate on the car seat, baby shampoo, macaroni and cheese or peanut butter and jelly. Sometimes we can quite simply “smell” our kids coming from the other room.
I wonder what we smell like to God. In 2nd Corinthians chapter 2, Paul says,
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and 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.”
He says that we are to God the aroma of Christ but then says we are the smell of death to some (those who are perishing) and the fragrance of life to others (those who are being saved). I once had a friend who looked down on Christians. He would say things like, “that reeks of Christianity.” He had been burned by some Christian’s and the deathly smell of smoke still burned his nostrils. For him, the aroma of Christ was an unwanted scent that unfortunately was probably tied to a well intentioned Christian who just wanted to smell good. We never want to be the smelly kid in class. Sometimes the smelly kid was the one who tried too hard to smell good! In order for our aroma as Christians to be one that makes people salivate, it cannot be too overpowering!
We underestimate our sense of smell sometimes. It really is amazing how what we smell can give us cues about the world around us. Walking in the door and smelling onions being sautéed. Fight or flight mechanisms in our brain going into alert mode when we smell smoke. We say “something smells fishy” when we feel unsure. Smells remind us of familiar places and long lost memories. This morning I woke up with the smell of diaper death beating up the sunrise. For some reason, it made me think of all the smelly situations we can get ourselves in and how the aroma of Christ is clouded by a foggy stench of our own sin at times. Paul says that when we smell good, God leads us in triumphal procession! We are the smell of defeat or the smell of victory.
Smell good to those around you today!