Do you stink? If you do, that’s a good thing!
Who wants to stink? That’s normally not a good thing unless you happen to be a skunk or a pig. Yet, for a Jesus follower, it can mean something very different.
As you follow Jesus and obey what He said, you may notice something strange. The more you try to love, forgive and be kind – the more opposition you seem to face. Why?
Jesus didn’t mince words about that. He didn’t promise all rainbows and butterflies. He promised persecution and trouble, but with joy and courage as supernatural compensation.
But Jesus is all about love and peace right? Well…
Matthew 10:34-36 (NET)
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, 36 and a manʼs enemies will be the members of his household.
What in the world does that mean? Who would want to have your own family against you? How could that be a good thing?
It’s simple. When you follow Jesus, you stink!
That’s not some outlandish theory. In his second letter to the believers in Corinth, Paul explained this principle – and that it’s something to be thankful about!
2 Corinthians 2:14-16 (NLT)
14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?
As you spread the Good News of Jesus, it’s like spraying air freshener all around you. God loves the smell. It’s the fragrance that smells like Jesus! Those who are being saved like it too.
But to those who are perishing… YOU STINK!
Don’t be surprised if they hold their nose, run away or call you names. You stink! It may seem like a bad thing, but it really is a good thing. It’s how we can tell the difference between sheep and goats.
In Luke 10, Jesus sent out the first disciples to new towns with very little training and experience. He did equip them with a principle that is foundational to disciple-making. Look for peace, and stay there.
Luke 10:5-6 (NET)
5 Whenever you enter a house, first say, ʻMay peace be on this house!ʼ 6 And if a peace-loving person is there, your peace will remain on him, but if not, it will return to you.
If you read further, Jesus said if they don’t receive that peace and reject you, move on. Literally, shake the dust off your feet. In disciple-making training, we call this the person of peace principle.
You can’t argue anyone into the Kingdom. Just extend your peace. If it remains, stay there. But if your peace, your kindness, your good deeds bounce back… guess what?
You stink. Don’t fight it. Don’t argue. Let God handle it.
God loves how your obedience smells, even if they don’t!