Friday, 13 July 2012

For we are the aroma of Christ

Life should be fragrant :: Rooftop to the basement (Kite, U2)

Even before I became a Christian, the above was one of my favorite lyrics. What I didn't realize at the time is that Bono is a Christ-follower and often taps Scripture for his lyrics. And after I got saved - quite soon after actually - I started smelling fragrances in the supernatural. Yes. I can smell God. 

Honestly, I can see why the Lord picked me as someone to possess this capacity. It is the way I was constructed and I revel in smelling His creations almost every day. I'm the one on the golf course that deeply inhales and says: Can you smell that? I'm felled by the aroma at the lake. I'm besotted by the scent of rainstorms hanging in clouds...redolent lilacs...and lilies. And is there anything better than smelling basmati rice cooking or sage in a veal sauce? Or the smell of the ocean from a beachside village or my favorite French fig cologne Philosykos by Diptyque? And don't even get me started about how I adore the intensity of an Ethiopian coffee ceremony with the crackling roasting of coffee and frankincense smoke. 

The first God scent that I discerned was vaguely similar to the incense I smell at Catholic funerals. The priests contain frankincense and myrrh in a censer and wave it over the coffins as part of the rituals and I always palpably ADORED that smell. And I started noticing that a distinct version of that same scent would waft in and out when I was at church and at worship concerts. 

I started looking into fragrance in the Bible and it seems to line up with Scripture:
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

In the seven years since I first sensed the aroma of incense, other smells have emerged...and not always of God. And I still don't have full revelation as to why I have been granted this capacity or gifting, but I can now say I trust it's real and true. 

I can't even describe to you how intense the aroma became when I first walked into IHOP-KC Global Prayer Room and continued for almost every minute of the six days I spent there. It was so omnipresent, I thought perhaps that I was smelling the prayers of the saints from 24/7 prayer that have gone up to the throne over the past dozen or so years. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand (Revelation 8:4)

And then there's worship leaders like Cory Asbury writing about the fragrance of His name...and Davy Flowers singing about the fragrance of my Hallelujah. 

Nowadays, I discern God's fragrances in the oddest places. Sometimes when I am crying out or confessing to Jesus in my room, the scent will descend upon me lightly for a short period of time. I was astounded to smell it one spring afternoon walking past a couple of B-Siders in my West Broadway hood and once when I passed a wildly decked out prostitute on Home Street. And when I met a former musician from the Vineyard at a friend's place, the fragrance entered their living room with a force...and the bathroom...and his car. 

Other smells have emerged including a rose oil aroma that wafts in and out during prayer meetings. (The bad stuff I will share for another blog post.)

I still don't exactly know if it's just the Lord letting me know He's present or beckoning me to pray for the person, place or situation. So few people experience this, it's hard to really know. I do believe it is a valuable discernment days to come it could be used to identify everything from false teachers and prophets to the antichrist. But apart from that...I know it's God and I know it involves lil ole me. <3