A Pleasing Aroma

7 Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. 8 He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the Lord for the generations to come. ~ Exodus 30:7-8NIV

Throughout his letters to the different churches, Paul references fragrant offerings and pleasing aromas to God. Except, in these cases, he’s not talking about burning physical incense but spiritual incense. How do we do that? Paul explains that we achieve this through our actions.

One instance in particular, Paul says that we are to love others in the same way Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us. This one caught my eye because this isn’t an easy task Paul is calling us to. It’s a difficult task when we really put it into perspective. See, Jesus took verbal abuse and accusations constantly by the very ones He came to save. He didn’t just condemn them to Hell and turn His back on them, though He’d be justified if He had. Instead, Jesus loved them. He taught them. He answered their questions and accusations with wisdom from His Heavenly Father and Holy Spirit. Even while on the cross, having just been beaten almost to death and now being mocked and berated, Jesus still chose love by praying for their forgiveness.

I want you to remember that while on earth, Jesus was still God but didn’t use that to His advantage (Philippians 2:5-8). So, He had to fight the fleshly desire to return evil with evil (Hebrews 4:15). Because Jesus overcame His earthly desires, we can overcome them as well when we go through Him (John 16:33, Romans 8:37, Philippians 4:13).

See, every act of love is a sacrifice to God because you have to crucify your flesh in order to succeed. You have to deny your own feelings, emotions, and pain in order to truly love people. Why? Because people aren’t perfect. We make mistakes. We lash out. We ridicule and mock. Hurt people, hurt people. And we’re all hurt in some form or another. But through Jesus, we can overcome evil with good.

From morning to morning and from night to night, let go of any hurt or pain you have from someone in your past doing you wrong. Let it go as it happens. Don’t hold on to it. Let a pleasing aroma of love be sacrificed on the altar of incense before the LORD, burning always through your actions of love. Because the more we love, the more God can use us. Therefore, let Him use you to be a pleasing aroma to the world. To be a light in this here present darkness. For they will know us by our love.

Dear Heavenly Father, help me to be a pleasing aroma to You. Help me to let go of the past and the hurts and pains of yesterday so that I might walk in love. So that I might be a reflection of You to the world. Help me not to be held down and tormented within my own soul by another’s actions. Help me to only be affected by You and Your love towards me, for I am perfected in Your perfect love. Please fill me with Your peace and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Help me to follow You all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

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