Oh, how I love South Louisiana! It truly is God's country. Okay, so really, it's all God's country, but you get my drift!
As I was driving this evening through one of my favorite areas of this United States, I was once again struck by...well...so much. See, I had my sun/moonroof open as I was traveling along the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge (all 18.2 miles of it) through the swamps of South Louisiana. All around me was water and cypress trees. Thanks to some extremely brave and talented bridge builders, I am able to drive right through the swamp!
What a sight! What a sound! What a smell!
No, seriously! I actually find that I like certain unusual smells...call me crazy. Maybe it's because they remind me of where I am, kind of like the way the smell of home is so comforting. Yes, the smell of the swamp, to me, is familiar and enjoyable. True, to some the smell of the swamp is more like a stench. But for me...well, I guess when you live in New Jersey for two years and in no way get any subtle hint of a wiff of the smell of the swamp you really treasure it when you do.
No matter what the aroma, it can truly be a sweet aroma to the one who is fond of it. I suppose pleasurable scent is in the nose of the smeller! (That's my phrase...don't steal it! Just kidding!)
But, seriously, think about it. No matter how funky you may feel, no matter how "up with the times" or "down and out" you may consider yourself to be...you, too, may be a sweet aroma to someone, and you most likely are! As a matter of fact, if you think I'm just saying this to make you feel better or even that I'm just making this up...try this one on for size...
"For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ unto God, among those who are being saved..."(2 Corinthians 2:15)
And, here's a little more for you to chew on..."In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. 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. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse (a fatal odor, the smell of doom). This is a terrific responsibility. Is anyone competent to take it on? No— but at least we don't take God's Word, water it down, and then take it to the streets to sell it cheap. We stand in Christ's presence when we speak; God looks us in the face. We get what we say straight from God and say it as honestly as we can." (2 Corinthians 2:14-17, The Message with addition from the Amplified in Italics) WOW!
So...like the swamp...to some people I may be a sweet aroma, one full of life and refreshing, while at the same time to others I may be a stench, a fatal odor, the smell of doom! I hope I am refreshing to you, but if not...know this...just because the "odor" seems fatal and full of doom, it is not! Let it be a wake-up call to arouse you into digging deeper.
There IS hope!!! That is why I am here...to tell you about the Hope that I have...the very reason I, as imperfect as I am, am a refreshing and sweet aroma of life to some. I have a Hope that you too can have. He is Christ. By knowing me and/or reading what I am sharing here, I pray that you realize that the person you know and what you read is all because of Who He is in me. What you are drawn to about me as a person and in my writing is not me, but it is Jesus living in and through me and using me to draw you to Him as well. Please, don't let me keep being that stench of doom to you.
Let go of your strongholds of "I can't accept something as truth that I cannot explain nor fully understand."
Let go of "What will....think about me if I give in to this!?!"
Let go of "I don't want to hear I told you so."
Let go of it all and let Him show you the depth of love and compassion He has for you.
You are flawed, He knows that.
You nor I deserve what He has done for us and what He offers freely to us.
So what if you've royally blown it with a big portion of your life...so have I.
Admit to Him that you are a sinner, as we all come into this world since Adam, and let go of trying to make yourself feel better about it by either avoiding the elephant in the room by acting like you don't care or by trying so hard to make up for it by doing stuff on your own that will just never measure up. It won't. You won't. Not on your own.
You nor I are perfect. We need a perfect, sinless, pure, spotless Lamb to be sacrificed on our behalf so that His blood can cover over all of our sin and render us forever clean. Guess what! That Lamb has already been sacrificed and that blood shed LONG ago...long before you ever knew you were in need of it.
Now, He is offering you the opportunity to let go of all of your excuses and "reasons" for denying Him and His Love Gift for you for so long and He is drawing you to just say it! Just say you believe it. Just say you believe in Him and what He did for you and for me. You know He did. "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (Romans 10:9-10)
You know deep down in your heart it is true. He created you to have that little part of you that senses something about this all is really true. The question is whether or not you will go with that tugging...or keep avoiding it. Give up the struggle now. You won't regret it. "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:8-9)
To quote someone who I just heard speak this week, "Truth can either convict and then set free, or it can simply convict." I pray you will let THE Truth set you free today...right now. "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" (John 14:6)