“Have you ever heard of stinkweed?” Stan asked me out of the blue one morning.
“Stinkweed? I’m not sure. Why do you ask me that?”
“When I was growing up on the farm,” Stan replied, “there was this one particular weed that grew along the road to the farm. I’m not sure if it’s official name was ‘Stinkweed,’ but that’s what my dad called it. And it was aptly named because it smelled awful!”
“But what’s that have to do with anything?” I asked.
“The other day,” Stan replied, “I was reading in the apostle Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth and stinkweed came to mind.”
“Paul wrote about stinkweed?” I said.
“No,” Stan replied, “the exact opposite.”
“What exact opposite?”
“The wonderful fragrance of Christ that is to be manifested in my life,” Stan replied. “To be honest, too often my life manifests stinkweed rather than the fragrance of Christ.”
“You manifest stinkweed rather than the fragrance of Christ?” I said. “Really?”
“Hate to admit it,” Stan replied, “but, yeah, that’s what happens way too often.”
“Why? Why would you do that?”
“Same old story,” Stan replied. “Failure to be the disciple I am intended to be.”
“In what way?”
“Ways,” Stan said. “Plural, not singular. I choose to exalt myself, rather than deny myself. Then I choose to take up what I want to take up apart from God, rather than take up what God has for me to take up. And, thirdly, I choose to try to get God to follow me, rather than choosing to follow Him.”
“Oh,” I replied, “it’s about the failure to follow the steps Jesus talked about in being a disciple.”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “And when those are the choices I make, it’s pretty much guaranteed that my life will manifest the odor of stinkweed, rather than the fragrance of Christ!”
“So,” I commented, “disciples are supposed to make the world smell better. Is that it?”
“Smell better,” Stan replied, “and be better, as we manifest the fragrance of Christ!”
Bible verses to consider:
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14.
Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” Luke 9:23-24
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the sweet aroma of Christ that you make available to me so I can manifest it to others. I confess that way too often I do not manifest the aroma of Christ, but the aroma of the world, the flesh, and the devil, along with the stinkweed of self. I do that because I do not follow your steps in being a disciple; I do not deny myself, I do not take up what you have for me to take up, and I do not follow you. Please forgive the foolishness of not being the disciple you intend. And please, Father, help me in following every step of your lead in being and doing what you have for me. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision of Christ’s finished work of the cross so you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it is time? If no, why? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with manifesting the sweet aroma of Christ in your life on this side of eternity? Is you life more like stinkweed? If you sense the need for change in the aroma you manifest, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?