Posts Tagged aroma

Aromatic Imitation

Ephesians 5: 1

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ love us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

We have been told that the Christian life is one of imitating Christ. The Apostle Paul told us to imitate him as he imitated Christ (1 Corinthians 11: 1). Did you ever consider being an imitator of God? Can you even wrap your head around that idea. In truth, though, to imitate Christ is to imitate God but somehow it seems easier to think about since he was a man and walked the earth. Imitating Paul puts it one step closer to us but then he tells us to imitate God, doing the things He does, thinking the way He thinks.

Children naturally mimic their parents and that is what Paul is getting at here. The first leg of the stool is that we are children of God. Paul takes that very seriously and very literally. The rest of his thoughts lean upon this premise. If we are truly the children of God, then we have His DNA and we have His heart. We are in every way tied to Him and are of Him so that we can replicate His actions and thoughts. That is a pretty huge concept.

The leading expression of being a child of God is to walk in love for God is love. Jesus, God’s first child, demonstrated the DNA of God in his love for us. He gave. John 3: 16 tells us that because God so loved the world, He gave. So, when Jesus gave all, he was imitating his father. Neither was selfish. Jesus did as he saw his father do. He put all of us before his comfort, needs or desires. Our need trumped his. That is what love does. It puts others first.

Do you see also that Jesus’ offering was fragrant? How often have you thought of the passion of Christ as fragrant? God, however, sees, smells and tastes the beautiful aroma of love. Wherever love is expressed, the scent wafts up to heaven as a fragrant aroma. When you praise God and worship Him, He not only hears your words but He tastes the delicate flavor of your love. Our praise rises to His throne room to flood His senses with joy and pleasure.

In this you see that it really isn’t that difficult to bless the Lord or to minister to Him. The expression of love fills His throne room with pleasant aromas and tickles His palate with divine flavors. As we love others the way Yahweh and Jesus love us, we color the environment with beauty and luscious aroma. It was love that created the earth and love that saved us from hell. As we imitate the Father in love, we create beauty too and when you get to heaven you will be able to fully appreciate your creation.

Incense Offering

Revelation 5: 8

And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Today is a visual day. I want you to look with me at the golden bowls which each of the elders holds. Did you notice that they are full of a substance which gives off a sweet smelling aroma? That substance is the prayers of the saints. Can you see the aroma wafting up from the bowls and filling the throne room? The vapors reach the Father and He inhales deeply of them. Think about when you walk into a kitchen where someone is baking. Don’t you stop in your tracks and take in a deep breath savoring the pleasant smell? Or I think about when I drive by someone mowing their lawn. I take deep breaths letting the scent fill me until I can no longer smell it. 

Those pleasant aromas arrest our attention. You may be in conversation but you immediately take that deep breath so you can enjoy the scent. This is the way our prayers are to our Father. They constantly fill His nostrils with the most pleasant fragrance of all. I like the idea that there is something we can do which brings pleasure to our Father. It is no coincidence that all twenty-four elders hold a harp and a golden bowl. These are the things which please God; musical praise and prayer.

As I read this verse today I found that I immediately wanted to pray and put a prayer in the bowl which would smell exceedingly wonderful as it is offered. Not surprisingly, the prayer was much more about how great our Father is than what I needed Him to do for me. I will confess that I found the prayer very fun and even gratifying for me.

Picture, if you will, an altar in the throne room where we give our offerings to the Lord. Rather than the meat of goats and lambs, we offer up music and prayer. We give to the Lord not something that is external like a sheep but rather that which comes from within us; our praise and our song. 

I wonder sometimes if our Father is tone deaf because I have noticed that He enjoys us singing to Him no matter how cacophonic the sound. You don’t have to have a good voice, just a heart of love for Him. He hears sweet music when you sing and He smells sweet incense when you pray. You cannot sing wrong or pray wrong when you give your offering from your heart.

It is amazing that the God who created Mt. Everest, the Amazon River and every star and heavenly body in the universe can be pleased with something as simple as our prayers. It sure makes one rethink one’s theology. It also reveals so much about our Father. It is delightful to realize that we can give Him joy. Even better, it is really easy for us to do so. We do not have to create a masterpiece. We have only to appreciate that which is. So, let’s fill up those golden bowls and flood the throne room with a sweet aroma.