Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
Isn’t God so amazing? When I think about how He created us, I’m blown away! One of the things I love about the way God created us is our sense of smell. Think of some of your favorite scents: maybe it’s your mom’s perfume, or the smell of a ballpark, maybe it’s the first scents of spring when grills are fired up for the first time, the smell of rain on a warm summer day, or the sweet aroma of freshly baked cookies when you come home from school. Isn’t it amazing that even if the scent isn’t near you now, when you think about it you can almost smell it? And just thinking about that scent takes you back to the place where you were when you smelled that scent. For me the smell of honeysuckle carries me away to my carefree childhood playing in my backyard in Nebraska. My sweet elderly neighbor taught me to pull off a honeysuckle flower, and sip the honey out of it. This scent gets starts the movie of my childhood rolling and my mind is flooded with all of the fun memories we made in that backyard! As an adult whenever I pass by a honeysuckle bush, I’m taken back there and I’m tempted to pick a flower and taste the honey…it is a sweet memory that reminds me of the innocence of being a child! But not all scents take us back to fond memories…for instance, the scent of vinegar make me think of spinach, and how much I despised cooked spinach as a child. Even now, my nose wrinkles just thinking of it. The sense of smell is amazing. One scent can take you a million miles away and engage your emotions days, weeks, even years after you first smelled the scent.
Paul uses the sense of smell to relate to us. He says we are to imitate God and walk in love. Then he finishes and says, if you do this the scent you give off will be a fragrant aroma to the Lord. Wow! These two phrases seem pretty simple, but are definitely more difficult to live out than they might seem. First of all, Paul says we are to be “imitators of God.” Impersonators know that in order to imitate someone you must first become overly acquainted with the person you want to imitate. One of my sweet friends does some very funny impersonations of famous musicians. He spent time studying other musicians, and he practiced imitating them. Now whenever he is on stage people laugh at his portrayal of his subjects 🙂 It is quite hilarious, I must say. But if he was unfamiliar with the artists he imitates, he wouldn’t know how to imitate them. Now this seems to be an obvious point, but how well do you really know God? Have you taken time to study HIM? Do you know His attributes? How He responds in various situations? The extent of His love? When was the last time you opened the Bible and asked God to teach you about Him? We must know God, if we are to imitate Him.
Next Paul says we are to walk in love. Paul is genius that he says “walk” not run or hurry or swim or drive in love, but walk in love. Walking is something common to all people. Even if you are a person who can’t physically walk, you understand what it looks like, and how common it is to everyone. We walk every day, we walk to our cars, around the house or block, we walk thru the grocery store or the mall, we walk thru the park or the rain…when we are going thru our daily routine we walk. Paul chose a common verb here. This encourages us, to love while we are walking thru the daily grind. To walk in love is to choose each moment of the day to love: love God and love people. He doesn’t say choose a time of day that is convenient to show someone love, he says “walk in love.” Let others see the love of Christ in you as you live your life day to day. Paul reminds us of the standard of love that was set for us by Christ: Jesus loved you so much He died to give you life! This is the kind of love we are to live out moment by moment, day by day!
Then he sums it up…if you do these things, if you imitate God and walk in love…the kind of love Christ demonstrated then your aroma will be a sweet scent to the Lord. I think your aroma will also be sweet to those around you, also. So how do you smell? Is your aroma sweet and inviting or do you need to take a spiritual shower? Is your aroma pleasing to the Lord, like a fragrant offering? Or do you have some cleaning up to do? Today, evaluate where you are in this process. Our walk with the Lord is a journey. It’s a process. It will take time to clean out the current smell, and replace it with a sweeter scent. One way you can begin this process today is to open your Bible and discover one truth about God. If you need a place to start, the book of Psalms (right in the middle of you Bible) is a great place to learn the character of God. Read a passage that tells you who God is, and then come up with a practical way you can live out that attribute as you walk in love today!
Feel free to post the attribute you discover, where you discovered it (Book, chapter, & verse) and how you are going to imitate that quality as you walk in love! I can’t wait to see how God reveals Himself to you, as you study His Word! The scent of Jesus on you will be sweet!