Your Morning Coffee 08/22/2022
Welcome to your morning coffee! May our Heavenly Father invite us to stop and sit with him in prayer today. Father, call us to yourself and tend to our hearts and minds. Reveal to us all the things you've been growing us that delight you and share your joy with us. Uncover all the things in us that offend you, that are unhealthy, unwise, not good, sinful, and foolish, and guide us in scooping them out of the waters of our well-spring hearts, and pruning them from the garden of our thoughts. Father, may the way we live be pleasing to you. May the way we seek your will, your desires, your purposes be pleasing to you. In the name of your son Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit living inside us, help us to know your will and to make our knowing of your will complete, do it.
Your Morning Song: "Mighty Good Leader" by Audio Adrenaline
Your Monday Morning Sermon Recap: 2 Corinthians 2:14-17
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, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 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.
How do we smell? Do we smell like Jesus to the world? In the depths, the guts, the ins and outs of our everyday lives, do others smell Jesus when they smell us?
Wait, smell? If you weren't with us yesterday morning, then the use of smell here might be a bit odd. Sure, the verses mention "aroma" and "fragrance" but what exactly does that look like? How can we understand this weird use of the sense of smell to describe our witness to our families and community?
The answer is found in defining what Paul means by "triumphal procession." In the Roman world during Paul's time there was a kind of parade called a "triumph." This was a special parade reserved only for the greatest of Rome's military leaders and there was a long list of requirements that had to be met before such an honor could be given. During these parades the great and mighty leader would come first and then, as honor and glory demanded, the rest of his men, his soldiers, and whoever else he deemed deserving. And at the back, the captives, the prisoners of war.
The crowds would burn incense and throw sweet smelling spices into the air. Victory was more than the sound of the cheering crowds and the sight of the soldiers, it was the sweet smell spreading throughout the streets.
But to the captives this smell was death. For at the end of the parade they would be executed.
Why then is Paul using specific image in this specific way? For Paul the spreading of the Gospel throughout the world and cultures he knew was like a triumphal procession. For to Paul even though there was spiritual warfare still being waged (Ephesians 6:1-20), the victory was already decided. And so the Gospel spreads triumphantly, just as we are to pray thankfully in all things, knowing God will surely answer, we are to share the Gospel triumphantly and fearlessly, trusting in what Jesus has already done.
And our sharing of the Gospel ought to look like this absurd image that Paul represents when he calls us "captives." We are not the soldiers, we are not the mighty leader. We are not even in the crowd. We are the captives, the prisoners of war, defeated and being led to die. But the sweet smell that for most other captives meant death, to us means life through Jesus's death in our place.
And that kind of odd, captives of Jesus, slaves to righteousness, and also sons and daughters of God, kind of living has a certain kind of smell to it. How do we smell then, church? Do our lives smell like the victory of Jesus? Or do our thinkings, doings, and sayings smell like something else?
Jesus leads the triumphal procession. The Gospel advances regardless of our faithfulness or lack thereof. But we have been called. We have been captured. We have been claimed by Jesus to join him in marching triumphantly ever forward in and toward the abundance of eternal life with him.
Does the fragrance of our living smell like our Savior?
Maybe. If you are anything like me, then there is perhaps a mixing of smells going on. But the time is always now to offer up our whole selves to God's discipline and directing. And he delights in calling out to us first in these small, consequence-free moments. Calling us to reflect and repent. And this is not just "I'm sorry," but an actual turn, a real change.
Let's take a moment with our Heavenly Father to smell ourselves and see if we need his help to make some changes in how we leverage our lives to share the Gospel of his son with the help of the Spirit.