10-8-09 Devotion: Aroma

You’ve probably heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” Here’s one, though, that may be new to you: “You smell like what you eat.”

Garlic is one of my favorite herbs to use when cooking because it adds a unique, distinctive zip to any dish. Just think of what pesto would be like without garlic. Bland and boring. Spaghetti sauce? I can’t imagine it without a clove or two. Garlic not only tastes good, but it’s also a natural antibiotic and extremely beneficial to the body. Regular intake of garlic may be effective in lowering cholesterol levels, fighting the common cold, and reducing the risk of certain cancers. It can also be used as a mosquito repellant!

However, too much garlic can cause mild stomach distress, such as indigestion and bloating. The worst side effects, though, are what others around you are forced to endure – your bad breath and foul body odor. The sulfuric compounds of garlic contribute to its sharp taste and strong smell, which remain in your system and hang around with you for days after eating it.

On a positive note, there are some foods that actually help to decrease natural body odors, leaving us with a more pleasant scent:

  • Cardamom·
  • Cinnamon 
  • Cloves 
  • Nutmeg 
  • Fresh produce 

Fresh, pure citrus juices As believers in Jesus, we carry a fragrance with us wherever we go, and it’s up to us whether that fragrance is pleasant or repulsive. Just like how some foods cause us to smell a particular way, our thoughts also set the course for our behavior. If we allow ourselves to feed on lies, negative attitudes come out, much like how garlic seeps through our pores when we sweat. When we’re rude, unloving, and unkind, we smell. The more we are filled with self – my thoughts, my plans, my, me, I – the stronger the odor, and the more we stink. People are nauseated by our presence. All they want to do is escape. Our aroma drives them away.

· distinctive pervasive odor that is usually pleasant 
· distinctive quality or atmosphere

When we submit to the Lord, though, and feed on the truth of His Word, we have a sweet-smelling aroma. His love flows through us to others. Joy and peace are evident on our faces. We’re filled with compassion and humility. People are encouraged, lifted up, and strengthened by spending time with us.

“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.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 from The Message

“For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 (NIV) 

Carrying the Lord’s fragrance is an enormous responsibility. It can literally be the difference between life and death. When our words are negative, harsh, and hurtful, we speak death to those around us. People who don’t know the Lord may be so repulsed by our offensive odor that they turn away from God and never get a taste of His salvation.

That’s why we must be grounded in the Word, daily feeding on the truth so that it sinks deep into our hearts and minds. We have to trust in the Lord for everything and seek Him in prayer. We must die to self in order to serve others. And, the more we let the Lord’s love cover us, the sweeter we smell.

When people take a whiff of you, do they breathe in something pleasant, exquisite and life giving? Or is your scent stinky and repulsive, bringing death? Remember, we are the aroma of Christ. People will “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8) when they inhale deeply and breathe in the exquisite fragrance of the Lord’s unconditional love emanating from us.


  1. Hi Kristen, I really enjoy checking out your blog on a regular basis and your devotions are very uplifting to me. Thank you so much for all your encouragment and for all you do. You don’t even know me that well and you are a blessing to me. I am so glad I finally got to meet you in person!

    Brenda Reavis

  2. Brenda, thank you for YOUR encouragement. It was so great to finally meet you. It’s exciting to know God is using you in the ministry of First Place 4 Health. I’m excited about all that He is doing in your group!

  3. K,

    You have a lovely aroma in Christ.