SWEET FRAGRANCE OF CHRIST
|by Shttefan on Unsplash|
Sweetness - what feelings and images does that word evoke? For me, it brings to mind something pleasant, something pure and innocent, something true and reliable, something with round edges rather than sharp ones.
Last week I had much occasion to dwell on this word. You see, I met two ladies at our new church who symbolise the word 'sweet'. I have only spoken with them a couple of times so far, but each time they left me with a fragrance of sweetness. And no, it wasn't their perfume; it was their gentleness, their sincerity, their kindness yet directness, and their general behaviour toward others. Then, when I encountered some very frustrating difficulties during this past week, my mind kept drifting to Jill and Emily. I kept asking God, "Please make me sweet!" My intellect can easily exert itself and go into battle, but I realised that I needed to reflect Christ's Spirit - I needed to be 'sweet'. The result, of course, was very positive.
Then I decided to get out my concordance and do a word study in relation to 'sweet'. Surprisingly, most references were in the Old Testament and many related to a 'sweet aroma'. I particularly liked Prov.16:24, "Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones." I often point out to my clients that words can promote either life or death (to varying degrees, of course). If you should ever read through the Book of Proverbs in one sweep, you may notice just how many verses concerning lips, tongue, mouth and words will jump right out at you. By the way, when I was a young Christian I colour-coded my Proverbs according to topics; it was a most interesting exercise and one that I can highly recommend :-)
And then I looked at related New Testament verses and found 2 Cor.2:14-16, "Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death to death [because they can't stand God], and to the other the aroma of life to life." This means that others need to see Christ in us. And how can they see Him? By the way we behave!
Unfortunately, our behaviour leaves much to be desired at times. It all depends on whose influence we submit to: the old Adamic nature that can only produce the fruit of SELF, or God who produces His own sweet fruit through His Holy Spirit. I have a picture hanging above my kettle in the kitchen. It depicts a chain of lovely apples surrounding Gal.5:22,23, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." To me, this Spiritual fruit symbolises the essence of 'sweetness'.
With my best wishes for the New Year - may you be SWEET throughout its days...