Don’t Let Me Stink It Up

But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.

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.

2 Corinthians 2:14

Have you ever walked into a room and instantly caught the whiff of a sweet and pleasing fragrance? Scents have a way of leaving a lasting impression, triggering vivid memories and transporting us to different times and places. Just as we associate certain scents with cherished memories or encounters, the Scriptures invite us to consider the fragrance we leave behind as we journey through life.

My grandmother’s home always had a soft, pleasant fragrance. To this day I remember that scent and I never figured out where it came from. Was it her perfume? Was it a spray she used? She didn’t burn candles, so it wasn’t that. I’ll never know now that she’s gone, but I’ll always remember it. I still have an item of hers that carries a faint remembrance of that scent.

Conversely, some scents leave a less than cherished memorable impression. If you’ve raised boys, worked around young boys, or just walked into a room of sweaty boys, you also know the opposite of a sweet, soft fragrance! It can hit you in the face for sure!

Just as we associate certain scents with cherished memories or unpleasant encounters, this scripture reminds us to consider the fragrance we leave behind as we journey through life.

Spreading the Fragrance

As I meditated on this featured scripture and engaged in a conversation with God, I was drawn to the reference of “spreading the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ….like a sweet perfume.”

In 2 Corinthians 2:14, the apostle Paul speaks of being led by Christ in triumphal procession and spreading the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. This imagery of fragrance resonates deeply, reminding us of the power of our influence on those around us. It’s not a fragrance that is sporadically sprayed, but one that emanates continually from the lives of God’s children.

This isn’t like a bottle of perfume that’s sprayed now and then – but a fragrance that wafts from His children as we journey through the day. This fragrance is not confined to moments of explicit evangelism or teaching but is infused into every aspect of our daily lives. It emanates from our worship, prayer, and immersion in God’s Word. As we live out the knowledge of Christ in our actions, conversations, and decisions, His fragrance naturally flows from us, captivating those we encounter.

When we spend time in worship, prayer and scripture, we are filled with the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Christ. As we live out this knowledge in our daily actions, conversations, and decisions, His fragrance flows from us.

I was once again reminded in the midst of this conversation how important it is for us to be filled daily with His word – filled to overflowing – so what spills and wafts from us reflects His glory and the knowledge of Christ.

What Fragrance Do We Leave Behind?

As I continued in conversation with God, I found myself pondering what kind of fragrance I leave behind.

  • Do I leave behind a pure sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Christ or is that fragrance tainted?
  • Does the ‘fragrance’ of my life leave a sweet memorable smell that reminds others of Christ?

It’s essential for us to pause and reflect on the fragrance we’re spreading. Are we leaving behind a pure, sweet aroma that reminds others of Christ, or is our fragrance tainted?

The Tainting Scent of Striving

Immediately that sweaty locker room smell came to mind and I was reminded of Psalm 46:10 and how often the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of who Christ is in me is tainted with the sweat of my striving .

  • Striving to make things work out the way I think they need to and when I think they need to [vs resting in His timing]
  • Striving to be seen or feel valued [vs resting in being seen and valued by Him]
  • Striving to overcome a conflict or challenge [vs resting in His power and/or letting Him fight the fight]

Like the smell of a sweaty locker room, our efforts to strive, control, or seek validation can pollute the fragrance of Christ in us. When we rely on our own strength, rather than resting in God’s timing and power, we risk tarnishing the beautiful aroma of His presence.

The Tainting Scent of Pollution

Whether you live in a city that battles pollution or have traveled to one, the difference between the fragrance of that air and the pure, clean air we find in the country or mountains is palpable.

And whether you live there or visit there, have you ever noticed how we can grow accustomed to the fragrance of the pollution? We may not even realize it until we leave that location and once again experience the fragrance of a unpolluted air.

As I continued my conversation with God on this verse, I was reminded of how the pure, sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Christ can be polluted when we let in the things of this world. If it’s not from God, it’s not pure. If it’s not pure – it’s pollution. [1 John 2:16]

And just like we can become accustomed to the smells and fragrances of polluted air, we must be aware of becoming accustomed to the tainting pollution from things of the world.

  • Living in ‘the grey’ of truth to fit in with cultural standards
  • Adding culturally trending religious practices to scripture based doctrine

Ecclesiastes 10:1 warns us of how a dead fly in perfume causes it to stink – and the fly is the foolishness of man. When we live foolishly, succumbing to the ways of the world, it pollutes the sweet and pure fragrance of our testimony.

When we compromise truth to fit in with cultural standards or add human traditions to God’s Word, we taint the sweet and pure fragrance of our testimony.

His Fragrance Purifies the Air

Yet, the good news is that God’s fragrance purifies and cleanses [1 John 1:9]. Regardless of how we may have allowed our fragrance to become tainted, God invites us to come close and be filled anew with His sweet aroma [James 4:8]. Seeking renewal and purification, we can ask Him to remove any impurities, making us vessels that exude the captivating fragrance of Christ [Psalm 51:10].

So, let’s engage in heartfelt conversations with God about the fragrance we leave behind. Are we overflowing with His fragrance, or have we allowed it to be depleted? What might be tainting the pure, sweet aroma of Christ within us? Is it the sweat of our striving or the pollution of worldly influences? As we seek God’s presence and guidance, He will help us become vessels that leave a memorable fragrance of Christ as we journey through life.


Father, fill me daily with the pure, sweet fragrance that is the knowledge of Christ. Make me aware when I allow things of this world to taint the fragrance that wafts from me as I speak, act and live out my testimony of Christ in me. Give me an increasing desire for more of Your sweet fragrance in my life and make me passionately averse to the smell of things that are not of You.

Father, I want nothing more than to leave a sweet, memorable fragrance of You as I journey through this life on earth.


Use these questions to chat with God about this featured verse. Let Him bring you into a closer relationship with Him.

  • When you think of your knowledge of Christ as a sweet fragrance we leave behind as we journey through our life, how fragrant are you?
    • Is His fragrance in you overflowing, half full, or depleted?
    • What is the Holy Spirit saying to you about this right now?
  • What might be tainting the pure, sweet fragrance of Christ in you right now?
    • Is there the sweaty stench of striving God anywhere in your thoughts, concerns, or actions?
    • Is there a tainting scent of worldly pollution drifting into your words, beliefs or convictions?
    • What is the Holy Spirit saying to you about this right now?

Want to learn more about having conversations with God?

“Conversations at a Table for Two: Feeding a Hungry Soul”

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