Imagine this. You’re on a first date and have not yet expressed your hate for the smell of smoke and your accompaniment lights up a cigarette while you’re in the car.
What is your initial reaction? Roll down the window? Ask the other to stop smoking? Get out of there as soon as possible? What’s your reaction?
A few nights ago, I was sitting in my car warming up in the parking lot where I work. It wasn’t freezing cold but it was cold as far as Louisiana was concerned and I saw this young lady standing in the parking lot smoking. This isn’t uncommon. But she was standing out in the cold smoking. Then when she finished her cigarette, she got into the car she was standing next to. What does this tell you? She really enjoyed smoking (enough to stand out in the frigid night air) but she didn’t enjoy it enough to make her car smell like the smoke.
I wonder if we get that way with our faith sometimes? Do we compartmentalize Jesus? I don’t mind smelling like Jesus on Sundays and Wednesdays, but during the rest of the week, I’ll get rid of the stench before I go into work or school. I don’t want people to think I smell funny. I don’t want words like “radical” or “fanatic” to get thrown around. Those words are dangerous and can get your looked at funny-like.
What about you? Do you stay away from people who smell like Jesus? Is there someone at your church, school or work you don’t want to be associated with because they have been labeled radical or fanatic? Are you more worried about your reputation than the cause of the Kingdom? Let me tell you, Jesus was not respected by the “churchy” folk of his day. He was a rebel. He knew something had to change and things had to be done differently. And I tell you this, it’s time for a group to stand up and say, “We can’t do it this way anymore! We have gotten so caught up with religious practices that we have forgotten our true love!” Our love is not the law, our love broke the law.
What about you? Do you smell like Jesus? Or do you wash that smell off right after church on Sunday? Are you a sweet aroma in your workplace? Or are you bitter, unloving, uncompromising with your coworkers, fellow students or fellow church members?
I pray that we are raising up a generation that doesn’t mind smelling like Jesus.