God gave me a vision this morning of bread, fresh out of the oven, still in the bread pan with steam rising up and carrying that lovely fragrance up to everyone in the home. He loves your fragrance, the perfume of your soul. He wants you to know it.
We all have a smell. No one wants to stink. We shower, we wash. Some of us wear anti-perspirants or deodorants. Some of us put on perfume or cologne or wear essential oils. We want our fragrance to be pleasant and to have a positive impact on the people surrounding us and on ourselves. One reason I put perfume on my wrist is so that when I am in need of a little respite, I can take a whiff of my wrist and the bouquet will relax me.
Well, believer we also have a different sort of fragrance, the scent of our souls. Believer, God enjoys our fragrance. Ezekiel 20:40-41 says,
“For on my holy mountain, the mountain height of Israel, declares the Lord God, there all the house of Israel, all of them, shall serve me in the land. There I will accept them, and there I will require your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your sacred offerings. 41 As a pleasing aroma I will accept you, when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered. And I will manifest my holiness among you in the sight of the nations.
When you obey God and serve Him, He accepts you as a pleasing aroma. Just as when someone bakes a loaf of bread and you breathe in that delicious aroma and are pleased at what the baker did for you, God breathes in the gorgeous scent of your service to Him and is pleased by it. I just picture Him, taking a deep breath and smiling and thinking, “Oh, I can hardly wait to hug her close to me!”
Your service to Him not only brings that beautiful perfume to Him, it goes out to the people around you. It hits them and they may not recognize it, but it awakens their hunger for God and makes them want to satisfy their yen. When you pass by the bakery and you smell that wonderful scent it seems at that moment that nothing else will satisfy your suddenly growling stomach except that warm fresh bread. So your fragrance can make the world desire the Bread of Life. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 says this.
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
Your service is not the only thing that brings your sweet scent to the LORD. Your essence is lifted up to Him by your prayers. Our prayers are incense to God Revelation 8:3-4 reads,
And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, 4 and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.
It was part of the Law that incense would burn as a representation of prayers (Exodus 30:7-8). Everything in the Temple was symbolic of who God is and what Jesus does. It is a mirror of our relationship with Him. Incense represents our prayers because in Heaven our prayers are delivered to God as incense. Yet, in the mystery of His awesomeness, in that fragrant smoke, God hears our specific prayers. Psalm 141:1-2 reads,
O Lord, I call upon you; hasten to me!
Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!
Just as God enjoys the attar of your prayers, they affect the world as well. James 5:13-16 reads,
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
In addition to the wonderful scent of your good works and your prayers God enjoys the smell of your repentance. Imagine walking into a restaurant or a backyard barbeque. Close your mouth and take a deep breath. What is that glorious smell? It is the roasting meat and the grilling vegetables and you are hungry for what is cooking. When Israel made sacrifices to the LORD, part of that sacrifice was cooking the meat, grains, and bread of the sacrifice. The spilled blood of the animals splashed on the mercy seat represented forgiveness of sins, but the aroma of the sacrifice symbolized repentance. Your repentance and the fruit of your repentance, that is the visible consequences of your remorse and atonement brings that lovely scent to God. This is described in Leviticus 1:3-9.
If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord. 4 He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. 5 Then he shall kill the bull before the Lord, and Aaron's sons the priests shall bring the blood and throw the blood against the sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 6 Then he shall flay the burnt offering and cut it into pieces,7 and the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. 8 And Aaron's sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, the head, and the fat, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar; 9 but its entrails and its legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall burn all of it on the altar, as a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
We do not have practice burnt offerings anymore because Jesus fulfilled the Law for us (Matthew 5:17). Today our sacrifice is how we live, we walk in the fruit of repentance, our lives are sacrificial, choosing righteousness over wickedness. Ephesians 5:1-2 reads,
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
And once again, as you are a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12:1), so your exquisite fragrance impacts the people around you. Romans 15:16 says,
to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Believer, shower in the blessings and love of your Lord, Jesus Christ and let His perfume be the pleasant aroma that so delights Him and which the world so desperately needs.