As we seek to live with purpose and peace, it helps to draw metaphors from Nature to more clearly understand God’s purposes and God’s ways. The fragrance released when grass is cut is both beautiful and refreshing. As it grows undisturbed, the fragrance of grass is mild; but, when grass is cut, the fragrance it emits is aromatic and powerful.
We can bring this fragrance metaphor to our own lives and ministries.”For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 15) It is natural for us to view favorably the periods of ease. Yet, when our lives flow undisturbed and without trial, the true depth and strength of our love and faith is concealed.
When, however, we are in the midst of trials – when we are cut and squeezed and pressed – the essence of who we are flows forth for the world to experience. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the fragrance of the Spirit beautifully rises from us. God’s Love and Light flow through us as an incredible testimony, a fragrant evidencing of Him. We discover that “we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.” (2 Corinthians 4:8)
As we commit to purposeful living, it is helpful to evaluate the fragrance we emit…for our fragrance evidences our essence. Trials are opportunities in which to release our fragrances, to bear our fruit, to expose to others the Spirit of the Lord which resides within us.
The following steps will help us to embrace trials and challenges as opportunities:
– Reflect upon the essence that fills your heart. What flows forth from you in times of trial, the times of pressing? Is it love, patience and forgiveness? Or is it anger, resentment and overwhelm? Write about specific circumstances of trials in your life and the fragrances revealed in your responses and feelings.
– Review the times in your life in which challenge ultimately yielded incredible good. Journal about these periods and the resulting positive outcomes.
– Determine what you can do to sweeten your life fragrance. Do you need to practice forgiveness? Could you incorporate more time for prayer and meditation? Do you need more involvement with your church family? Do any sinful patterns exist that prevent the Holy Spirit from fully dwelling within you? Is your relationship with God deeply personal and continuously growing? Take time to closely meditate on these questions and to journal about your discoveries.
As you journey purposefully, pause to enjoy the delightful fragrances of Nature. Reflect also upon your own life essence. When trials arise, what aroma will flow forth from you? “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1) How can your life of living sacrifice grow more fragrant and holy and pleasing to God? Trials and challenges are indeed opportunities, for they reveal the depth of faith and love that lies within heart.
© 2011 Caroline Gavin
What steps will you take to sweeten your life fragrance today?