“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” ( Ephesians 4:32-5:2).
I have never yet met a person who didn’t hold Jesus in high esteem. Regardless of whether an individual believes in Jesus as the Son of God, everyone agrees that He was loving, caring, kind and self giving. Many people will even say, “If everyone lived like Jesus, the world would be a better place.”
A nice philosophy, but it remains only that until we look more deeply into exactly what kind of love God lavishes on us and then calls His followers to live out. Kindness, compassion and forgiveness are the oil that could make families, communities and nations live well. But the words “gave himself up” and “offering” and “sacrifice” sting with their stark demands. These are words that require more than I can give, more than I have the power to produce.
And that is exactly as it should be. Being a follower of Jesus means that I have counted the cost of the path and consistently ask God to fill me with the power to live like Jesus – giving myself up, offering and sacrificing. It is this kind of life that wafts into the presence of God – we, and what we offer to Him become perfume!
Father God, I want to be perfume to You but often, I admit, what You smell in my good works is the stench of self reliance and self satisfaction. Thank you for transforming my gifts into sweet smelling sacrifices as I offer them in repentance. Amen.
Question: What turns a “perfumed” life or gift into one that makes others turn away in distaste?
About the Author Marilyn J. Ehle
Daily audio podcast: A second daily devotional, The Forgetful Servant, today on the Men’s Devotional Blog