November 21, 2011

Aromatic Christians

2 Corinthians 2:14-17; Luke 15:11-20

We are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved … an aroma that brings life.
2 Corinthians 2:15-16


Consistently, surveys that analyze how Christians in North America are viewed by others come up with unfortunate findings. Christians are often known as judgmental. Rather than being known for daring to be different and making a positive impact our communities through behaviors of love, forgiveness, and peace-building, people experience our criticism and negativity. That is not a pleasing aroma.

Yet we Christians are recipients of grace. We have known God’s incredible forgiveness and radical acceptance. Every one of us is a lost child who has experienced the hug and kiss of our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. Jesus told the story of the lost son to let us know the heart of our missionary God. It explains Jesus’ purpose and why he endured the criticism of religious leaders to spend time with “tax collectors and sinners.” (Matthew 9:11). Jesus was being the “aroma that brings life.”

We too can follow his example. There are many ways to be sweet-smelling Christians. Through his Spirit we can live out Christ’s radical love and acceptance of others. Think about your relationships. How do people see you? Are you the “aroma of Christ”? Do others experience kindness, hospitality, forgiveness, and encouragement from you?

Lord, only you can replace our sinfulness with your pleasing aroma. Help us connect with you daily through your Word, so we can show your grace and mercy to others. Amen.

About the author — Allen & Lynn Likkel

Revs. Allen and Lynn Likkel have worked in communities across North America for many years—planting churches, nurturing them along, and developing new church leaders. A minister in the Christian Reformed Church, Allen served with Christian Reformed Home Missions for nearly 40 years, and Lynn, also ordained as a minister of the Word, has served to build leaders and new congregations. In November 2010, Allen entered retirement, and the Likkels moved to Washington, their native state. They have four adult children.

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