But we do know this is true from our practical experience. For we’ve all been around people who carry bitterness or some negative attitude. And if we’re around them long enough we’ll begin to be affected negatively or even take on their offense. Of course, the opposite is also true around people who exude a positive influence.
Beloved of God, do you know Who you carry within you? Here’s how Paul said it (bold-type added)…
“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 Cor.2:14 NKJV)
Add to this, the idea that atmosphere is the pervading tone or mood of a place, or situation–is the fragrance, mood or tone of Jesus brought to light wherever you go?
And this is not some guilt trip to make you try harder, be more moral–or worse, start parroting a canned speech you learned in some evangelism class.
Jesus isn’t looking to have you be more willing. No, that’s the flesh. He wants to put your will to death and live His life through you. There’s a world of difference.
One is acting like Jesus, the other is abiding in Christ.
I shared some practical ways we can be present in His presence here, so that wherever we go, everything should carry the “fragrance” of Jesus.
We exude Christ to the degree that we know what we carry within us. For when we forget who we are, we inevitably sink down into the darkened mire of mere humanness (see 1 Cor.3:3).
Paul told Philemon that our faith is effective to the degree that we acknowledge every good thing in us in Christ (Phile.1:6).
Do you know those good things in you?
For this is why Paul often had to say, “Do you not know?” (Rom.6:3-6, 16; 1 Cor.3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor.13:5), because it’s possible for us not to know, even though it’s true.
We tend to agree with but not believe these statements about ourselves, or we turn them into powerless metaphor through bad theology, or we’re ignorant of them because we haven’t been taught what are the most important truths about us.
Whether you realize it or not, you have a “presence” that affects those around you–positively or negatively–so you might as well “diffuse” God’s presence in you.
For Paul also talked about this mystery of who we are in Colossians (bold-type added)…
“To them God willed to make known
what are the riches of the glory
of this mystery among the Gentiles:
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col.1:27 NKJV)
There is no species like you on the planet. For not only is Christ is you, you are a new creation in Him (2 Cor.5:17). The word “new” here is kainos, which means “species of a new order,” previously unheard of , unprecedented in history–Jesus being the prototype (prototokas – Col.1:15)
It’s a life that’s comes from being planted. It’s not about trying to love God more, it’s about wading in the ocean of His unfathomable love by faith (John 15:9; 1 John 4:19). It’s about abiding in His affections, letting them fill you up and overflow until it leaks out of you onto everyone around you.
Did you ever watch a tree bear fruit? What does it do? It stays put in the ground it was planted in, it receives the rain and sunshine…then fruit happens. And if you stand under it, you feel its cool shade, you can smell it’s leaves, and you may even hear it sing in the breeze.
If you can receive it, you are a tree planted by the water, which is the river of God’s Spirit in you (bold-type added)….
“He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:3)
“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing.” (Psalm 92:12-14)
This is what Jesus was telling us (John 15:7-12). And we are already righteous and holy because He is righteous and holy, and He is our life (Col.3:3). For there is no other Christian life available to us.
And here’s the thing. You don’t try harder to become a tree; you are a tree, for you have been planted in Christ. And you have the Tree of Life living in you, bearing fruit for the healing of the nations (Rev.22:2).
You were placed in Christ to shift the atmosphere around you–to look, taste and smell like Jesus. To stay in His love and to radiate that love to those around you.
I love how the New Living Version Bible says it (bold-type added for emphasis) …
“I am the Vine and you are the branches.
Get your life from Me.
Then I will live in you and you will give much fruit.
You can do nothing without Me…
9 I have loved you just as My Father has loved Me.
Stay in My love.
10 If you obey My teaching, you will live in My love.
In this way, I have obeyed My Father’s teaching
and live in His love.” (John 15:5, 9-10 NLV)
How do we obey Jesus’ teachings? By living in His love, the same love the Father has for Him, and loving others with this same love (See also John 15:12).
So let’s do that. Let’s get our life from Jesus so that when we walk into the room everything changes. Because wherever we may walk, Jesus is walking there too.