“Now thanks [be] to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV
I’ve always thought of this as worship that results in a mission. The first part, the sweet perfume mentioned here, is something that comes off of us as we worship God in our daily lives. God rubs off on us and in turn, he rubs up against the people we know and encounter. Some welcome this and some don’t, but that part is out of our control. Our focus is to be on him.
I once saw an ad on TV for a new perfume presented by a celebrity and bearing her name. Well, we are presented by Christ as a new fragrance bearing his name. It’s his life in us that does this. Ours is a life directed toward God, where everyone around us gets a benefit.
Author David Roper has put it this way: “Change, as it comes to us, is the fruit of our association with God. As we draw close to him day by day, walking with him, talking to him, listening to his words, relying on him, asking for his help, his beauty – the beauty of holiness – begins to rub off on us. Quietly and unobtrusively his influence softens our wills and inclines us to deep righteousness. In his quiet love, he takes all that's ugly in us and gradually turns it into something beautiful for him.”
And that “something beautiful for him” is what becomes our mission in the world. People who are going to be drawn to God will be drawn to the fragrance. It’s not that we’re faultless – some shining example of flawless perfection – we are simply in fellowship with God and giving off the fragrance that is the result of being around him.
Paul says the Lord uses us to spread the Good News about him through this fragrant interaction. Our impact among others, therefore, is not something we have to overly concentrate on. It’s not: “I’ve got to remember to tell somebody about Jesus today.” It’s more like: “I want to be aware of God in my life today.” Walking in an awareness of God is already speaking volumes.
It’s a little like killing two birds with one stone. The Presbyterians have it in their catechism: “The chief end of man is to love God and enjoy him forever.” I would suggest that there’s no way one can engage in this pursuit and not have an impact with his or her life. It’s all in the worship. Try it today and see what happens.