“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. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” (II Corinthians 2:14-15, ESV)

A certain large store, whose name has only four letters, has an amazing sales technique. As I near the checkout, after wandering through their vast maze of goods, my nose begins to twitch. A captivating aroma wafts across the lines at the register and swirls around me. They are baking cinnamon rolls. The smell is irresistible and before I know it, I’m buying cinnamon rolls to take home. Of course, I must eat at least one while it’s piping hot with the glaze dripping over my fingers and creating a sticky mess.

Fragrance can be captivating or repelling. A certain highway I occasionally travel goes past the entrance of a landfill. Not only do I have to dodge garbage trucks driving that way, but my nose is also assaulted by the smells that roll off the landfill. It is definitely not captivating—especially on a hot, windy day.

Fragrance was an intricate part of Old Testament worship. The Lord gave Moses precise instructions on making perfume for use in the Tabernacle. (See Exodus 30:34-38 and 37:29.) It was not to be duplicated for personal use; it was holy to God.  

“And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy” (verse 35).

When the priests entered the Holy Place to minister to the Lord, some of that pure fragrance burning on the altar of incense may have permeated their robes—a soft, lingering aroma that said they had been in the presence of God. It was the distinct scent of worship and was never duplicated for any other purpose.

What kind of odor do you put off? No, I’m not questioning your personal hygiene. I am asking if you are carrying the captivating fragrance of a life surrendered to God. Or do you carry the stink of (dare I say it?) worldly garbage that you have allowed to taint your life. Can those we meet each day tell we are God’s child by the sweet aroma of His presence in our lives? Or does our smell repel them from desiring to learn more about God?

Our fragrance is our testimony. Let it be the pure and holy aroma of a Spirit-led life. There is nothing else quite like the appealing scent of God’s love that permeates our lives. We must keep ourselves pure and holy to take that aroma with us wherever we go.

Lord, help me to be a witness to all those I meet, allowing the scent of the holy to draw them to You. I never want my actions or attitudes to destroy that witness and repel others from desiring to serve You.


Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.


  1. Beautifully written…and heartfelt. Thank you.

  2. Loved this reminder! May my fragrance be a beautiful testimony that brings glory to God.