The Fragrance of the Holy Spirit

>I’ve been wearing Estee Lauder’s Pleasures for probably close to 15 years. It’s my favorite. I change it up from time to time, but Pleasures is my signature scent.

I’ve had friends ask me what perfume I wear and then go out and buy it–sometimes it works for them, sometimes it doesn’t. Along those same lines, I’ve also had friends say that they were in a store or happened to walk by someone and they smelled me, only to find that it was another person wearing my perfume.

I carry a particular fragrance. You, too, carry a particular fragrance.

And as followers of Christ, our lives are supposed to carry another fragrance–the fragrance of the Holy Spirit.

How is that possible? Does God really . . . smell? Yes! But His fragrance can’t be detected by our olfactory system.

Like perfume, however, the Holy Spirit has the power to fill not only the space inside us, but also inhabit the space around us, and the more we submerge ourselves in Him, the stronger His “scent.”

You see, the Bible says that Spirit testifies to spirit (Romans 8:16). God’s Holy Spirit attests to what’s going on inside of us. God’s Holy Spirit also testifies to what’s going on in other people’s lives, and when we are in-tune with the Spirit inside us, we can get a good sense of what is happening with others. So, in essence, the Holy Spirit serves as the olfactory system for our spiritual lives as well as the fragrance. He serves a dual purpose. (For sure He does much more than those two things, but we’re not delving into all the rest at the moment.)

I want to smell like God. I want to usher Him into every room and every relationship and every circumstance I find myself, and I want His presence to be sensed even before I make myself known–like a lovely perfume. I want His fragrance to linger long after I’m gone. I want people’s hearts to respond to His love simply because I’m there. Their spirits testify to “my” Spirit (i.e. the Spirit of God that lives inside me); they smell God on me.

But here’s the thing, I can’t MAKE myself smell like God. I can’t find a verse in the Bible or a particular spiritual discipline that I can saturate myself with at will. I can’t find a spiritual bottle of Holy Spirit power and douse myself when I feel I’m becoming stagnant. I also can’t always know if my life bears the signature scent of the Spirit. Instead, I have to give Him liberty to do as He wills, follow His guidance, praying for His mystery to overwhelm me, and trust that His presence and fragrance is growing and being sensed by those around me. The more time I spend just resting in Him, like soaking in a bath tub, the better chance I have of Him lingering on me.

People who think about money all the time have a certain air about them. People who care a great deal about the environment and saving the planet often wear their causes for others to see. A man or woman who cares a great deal about other’s opinions of them talk a great deal about fads and brands and the external trappings of success. People who are worriers have ulcers, frown lines, and nervous habits that are evident of the burdens they carry. People whose lives revolve around food can’t hide their issues (at least not forever). Optimistic individuals smile a lot. People who work hard at understanding others are often very good listeners. People who give themselves over to the Spirit also take on particular mannerisms and attitudes that are witness to Whom it is they follow and trust.

What does your signature scent say to others? What does your life “smell” like?

I’m certainly not where I want to be, but I do often pray that God goes before me. I often ask the Holy Spirit to be bigger than me in my life. I ask Him to permeate my being and to rub off on those around me. But it doesn’t always happen because I trip myself up regularly. I want people to feel His love and joy and peace and comfort in and through me very powerfully, but I lose my patience, fret over ridiculous details, or get annoyed when my plans get derailed. I don’t heed His advice or rationalize my sin and laziness, and therein impede His overflowing presence in my life.

I refuse to give up, however, and will keep praying for His blessed fragrance and asking Him to take my disobedient self and turn it into something lovely. I am powerless without Him and stinky too!

My hope and prayer is that as others have asked me about Pleasures, they will inquire after the fragrance of God’s Spirit on me as well. May you have the pleasure of that too!

Comments

4 Responses to “The Fragrance of the Holy Spirit”
  1. Jamie says:

    I liked this. Good word!

  2. Syl says:

    So is there an actual smell–like a sweet fragrance OR are you speaking of a figurative smell? I am asking because recently at church at the alter, I smelled a heavy sweet fragrance. At first I thought someone near by was wearing perfume. But when I went back to my seat alone, the same fragrance wafted up again and then disappeared.

    • Amanda says:

      I was speaking of fragrance in a figurative sense, but it wouldn’t surprise me if God gave you a little “miracle” that Sunday to remember him by and to think of him more often. I say that because I just happen to think He’s THAT good, and I believe that we should try to give God ALL the credit. And I’d rather on giving him more credit than not enough. I really do love the thought of smelling God, though. 🙂

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