Scent-free?

This is a re-post of a note I published May 10, 2014 on Facebook. I am transferring my notes from Facebook into my Float the River blog.

A couple of years ago I took up bow hunting after a 25 year hiatus from the sport. It provided a great opportunity to spend time with my oldest son Troy and get out of the city for periods of active rest. My son was a good teacher (even if his padawan was a bit slow). One of the most important elements of bow hunting that he taught me was how critical it was to be “scent-free”.

I showered in special soap, washed my clothes in special detergent, stored my hunting clothes in special bags, and used special deodorant. There is a HUGE industry dedicated to not smelling so that hunters can be as scent-free as possible. Scent can either make or break an opportunity for a shot. I can’t begin to count the number of times deer would be coming down the trail towards my stand, catch a whiff of something not right and WOOF loudly at me before dashing off to safety. All because some scent wasn’t right. Get the right scent and they COME running, get the wrong scent and they FLEE running. The thing is, it is much easier to get it wrong than right. So we try hard to be scent-free.

As I was reading “The Gospel” (Ray Ortlund, Crossway, 2014) this morning I was reminded of Paul’s instructions in 2nd Corinthians 2:15-16 that “scent-free” is not the way of the Gospel. The growth of maturity for believers is an ever increasing ability to naturally “smell” like Jesus.

[15] For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; [16] to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?

How often I find myself defaulting to what I know of bow hunting and give in to the belief that no smell is better than the wrong smell. So, too often I remain quiet to avoid the possibility of offending. On the contrary we are to work hard at smelling! No matter how many times the world “woofs” at us and runs away, we must continue to work at smelling like Christ. Our convictions held with grace, our relationships held in honor, our foundation solidly built on God’s Word, and the resulting culture of our lives lived out as an ever-increasing fragrant aroma of the One who died for us.

The enemy knows we will never ever get it perfectly right so he whispers “Why try?”. Jesus says, “Follow me…my grace is sufficient for you”.

When I hunt, it will always be “scent-free” for me, but as I live, dear Jesus, may I ever more smell like you…may our churches and our society be filled with smelly people who are ever more smelling like you.

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