• Sydney Ehmke

What Do You Smell Like?


“Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation - an aroma redolent with life.”


2 Corinthians 2:15 (MSG)


Okay, raise of hands. Who reading this likes curry?

Okay, another raise of hands. Who actually raised their hand? Because if you did you probably look awfully silly. (Wink.)

But in all seriousness, I LOVE curry. Take me out for some Indian food and, as Cousin Eddie might say, "I will love you til the day you die." (Christmas Vacation reference, for those of you who might be a little confused.) 

So, when I found out Mom made chickpea dumplings (oh yeah, that were INFUSED with curry) I just couldn’t wait to get me a bite! That was until I remembered I would be home late that evening and have to miss out.

Unless… I had it for breakfast at work the next morning!

You know that person in the office that is notorious for cooking smelly food in the microwave? This is me raising my hand saying, "Yeah, I’m that person." 

Fast forward, I’m making curry-filled chickpea dumplings for breakfast in the office microwave and I couldn’t be more excited to sink my teeth in! Did I mention my boss from out of town was coming in that morning? 

Fast forward a little further. I try to run the dumplings straight to my office from the kitchen so no one would be on my tail about the smell. That was until my boss arrived and walked into my office.

“So… before you say anything I want you to know that I just had a curry dish for breakfast and my office probably stinks,” said wide-eyed Syd. 

“Yeah, I smell it. Who eats that stuff for breakfast?? C’mon, let’s meet in the other office instead,” said my boss as I followed him.

We sit down to chit-chat over items on our agenda. When it was my turn to speak I could see him slowly (possibly without even realizing it) inching his chair away from me. His turn came to respond in the conversation. I expected something work-related, instead…

“DUDE, I can SMELL that curry coming off you!”

Laughter ensued throughout the office as the rest of my coworkers knew what I had eaten and heard our conversation. My response?

“So ah… this isn’t going to be recorded on my annual review, RIGHT?”

He laughed. A slice of ginger at lunch later cleansed my pallet and saved my rank breath (my clothing is another story). 

Alright Syd, what on EARTH does this have to do with my relationship with Christ?

Well, everything. 

Have you ever met someone that has a sense of sweet awe about them? You cannot quite pinpoint what it is, but you know that they are different from others. Sometimes it’s their peace, sometimes it’s their joy, sometimes it’s their mercy poured out to “undeserving others.” 

That awe is an “aroma redolent with life.” Redolent means fragrant or sweet smelling. Who doesn’t want to evoke a sweet, metaphorical fragrance with their words and actions? 

As Christ followers, when our actions reflect the kind, patient, merciful love of Jesus, “we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation - an aroma redolent with life.” Because of Christ, and allowing him to enter our hearts, we are able to reflect this image. 

His image.

But sometimes, we don’t always choose to do so. Sometimes, our words and actions emit an aroma of unsavory, distasteful STANK. (Yes, stank. That’s worse than stink.) The crazy part? We often don’t even realize it. You know, kind of like those silly people that cook their smelly office food, become nose blind to their stench, and not notice how much they reek of curry. 

So what are we to do? If I can’t SEE or SMELL that my actions and heart emit an aroma not worthy of Christ’s image, how do I catch myself?

You call yourself out. You check yourself. You do a breath check and pop a mint at the unsightly smell of garlic and curry.

It’s easy to get lost in our “greatness” and not see how we actually, greatly, need our Savior to step in and help us reflect more of him.

This past week I sat and thought to myself, “In what areas of my life can I improve on to better reflect Christ?” For me, it is patience and humility. Because I have called myself out and have decided to focus on these “foul smelling aromas,” I put my self in a position to pray about them and ask for God’s hand in helping me overcome them.

Because of our Creator, we already give off a sort of sweetness. C’mon, we were made in HIS image! But how about we become more fragrant, more aromatic, more redolent… and do so in his name. 




For Your Reflection…

Where in your life do you find a lack of “redolent life”? Are pride, jealousy, hate, impatience, or distasteful words holding you back? 

How can you become more mindful of keeping out the not-so-redolent? Keeping an accountability partner, reminders on your phone, sticky notes on your desk, or a memento in your pocket might help you stay attuned to achieving your goal. 

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