A Scent of Your Own

CC BY-NC-ND, David Nutter, Flick
CC BY-NC-ND, David Nutter, Flickr

Today begins the first of a 3-day series I call Making Sense of Your Scent. I will draw comparisons between the spiritual graces in our lives and perfume. Also, make sure you watch the video; it’s very interesting.

While on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, I made sure to look for Sephora, the famous French cosmetic chain. I needed to visit because I was searching for cologne I couldn’t find in Japan; but I desired to go there to see their famous fragrance counter.

And there it was—an in-the-round, tiered, organ-like setup with hundreds of “essences.” A fragrance professional stood in the center eager to let shoppers try whatever scents they had in mind. She knew what each sent was, where to find it, and how best to use it.

Making One Smell Good

Perfumes are a combination of alcohol, water, and fragrant oils mixed at certain ratios. There are literally thousands of fragrances, and new ones are being made all the time. None are exactly the same; formulation is a painstaking science. Moreover, the final product is a specific, designed scent the perfumer originally had in mind.

But how a perfume smells on us individually depends on a host of things: skin chemistry, body heat, hormonal changes, diet, medication, stress level, and more. So not only is there a host of components for many different fragrances, there is also a host of conditions that make a particular scent blossom on one person and reek on another.

God’s Fragrance for You

Romans 12:6 explains that each of us possesses different God-given gifts according to the grace granted us to exercise those abilities. This set of gifts in Romans 12:6-8 have often been termed motivational gifts and serve as ministerial tools proceeding from aspects of our personality and character. Although these gifts deal with our temperament, God-given abilities are certainly not limited to those mentioned in scripture.

There are a few important points that should not be overlooked.

  • You have a gift. Call it a gift or talent—I don’t care; but God has placed a special ability, or abilities, in our lives that is our responsibility to strengthen and use for his glory.
  • You should be exercising that gift. We dishonor God by diminishing his graces in us. Let naysayers…neigh-h! But we need to be about God’s business. For when we scratch below the surface of that gift, we’ll discover a natural fitness for it and a personal enjoyment.
  • Never compare yourself to others. It is our responsibility to work the gift; it is God’s responsibility to make it effective. Only you know the level of grace given to you; so it’s not for you to tuck your tail when you perceive someone else with a greater measure of grace in that area. God gives increase and may desire to raise your gift to unimaginable heights. But don’t shortchange him because you feel inferior to someone else.

You see, the graces in our lives are the specific fragrance God has designed for us. It smells good on us because the formulation is suited for our particular makeup. But if you try to wear the fragrance that has been specially-made for me, it just might stink on you!


8 thoughts on “A Scent of Your Own

  1. Great insights here, Mike. Your analogy of fragrances reminds me of Paul’s statement in 2 Cor.2:14, that through us, Christ diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. Amen!

  2. The most interesting thing to me in the video was when he talked about how an ink jet cartridge can make 16 million colors out of 4 basic ones. God can take our ordinary, basic life and make brilliant things out of it. He can take our ordinary talents and do extraordinary things above and beyond our imagination. We just have to be willing to let Him stir things up!

    • Amen! Such are the possibilities with our lives…a fish and loaves experience. What promise! (And I can’t imagine the life to come–better than 16 million!)

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