But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing ... (2 Corinthians 2:14-15 NRS).

Recently, I had to change the route I drove to work because of a road closure. My new route took me down a street I have travelled many times over the last three decades of driving — I've lived in Abilene, Texas two different times during those thirty years. One morning, I noticed that a donut and pastry shop was still in the same location as it was thirty years ago when I was working my way through graduate school. My moving crew used to stop every morning during our break as we transitioned from the truck depot to the day's job.

I couldn't believe this place was still in business. Then the aroma hit me. Right across the street from the donut shop was the Mrs. Baird's Bread bakery. At certain times of the day, the air is rich with the smell of baking bread. After driving this route for several days, the aroma of the baking bread triggered a Pavlovian response as I would pass the location of the bakery. An internal voice begged me to get bread ... or pastries ... or donuts! The aroma of baking bread made me crave these delights! I desperately wanted to stop at the donut shop!

As I read the apostle Paul's words about being "the aroma of Christ," I can't help but think of my reflexive response to the smell of that baking bread. I hope and pray that my character and compassion leads folks to crave Christ. I want my life to powerfully spread the "smell" of divine grace and mercy. I want to be the aroma of Christ to those around me!

Now I have to admit that I am much better at this some days than I am others. Even more importantly, I realize that when I am not praying regularly and not spiritually centered in my Bible study times, then I am not emitting that aroma of Christ. I've got to stay in the Word while seeking to honor the Lord. If I don't, I lose sight of what is important. So for me, spending time in prayer and focused on Jesus in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) is crucial.

So what kind of fragrance are you?

I couldn't believe this place was still in business.

I'd love to hear how you stay focused on Jesus! Please let me know what you do to strengthen the aroma of Christ in you?