The Delightful Odor of Grace

Our spiritual journey takes us over and through the challenges of life. More than once, we hesitate at the bottom of a perilous mountain. It looks too high. Too difficult. Climbing seems way too dangerous. Had we not gotten our tickets already punched for this lifetime trip, we might have retreated.

It doesn’t take long for us to realize that our Conductor is in this for the long haul. His job is to teach us how to find great joy by denying ourselves. Having given Him the ticket to our destination, He fulfills His part by moving us over, above and around steep hills, bumpy roads, and terrifically rough waters. His plan to remove the fake in us is not easy. Changing from fake to real is nobody’s dream. Sometimes it’s even a nightmare. Efforts disappoint. Bodies ache. Tears sting. Hearts break.

Every now and then the Conductor looks at us and nods His approval. It’s evident that He sees something we don’t. That is until we take a look inside and realize our heart has a different texture. At the beginning of this journey, it was hard, but now our heart feels soft. We look in the mirror and don’t recognize our eyes. They have a mellowed look about them. We check our voices, and no matter how hard we try to give words that hurt, we can only give grace. Our ears have shrunk. When before they stretched to hear gossip, now they shrink when others start rumors. What used to entice us no longer does. The day comes when we realize we don’t want the things of the world anymore. We only want Jesus.

We have morphed from surface Christians to hungry Christians. We have been changed from having all to having nothing. Our priorities are not named by things of this world. Our priority has one name only. Jesus.  From the cushioned life to the humble and broken life, we now carry the odor of grace.

And we love it. Real has never felt so good. Grace has never smelled so sweet.

Our Lord brought twelve rough men through a journey of becoming real. He carefully chose men you and I would never have selected for such a supremely important work. He chose those whose hearts were ready to be tenderized. He saw deeply into the center of their spirits, finding there amazing possibilities that the human eye could not see. They would grow up spiritually during these three years with their Master, at first putting their needs paramount and their wishes first until slowly, like a piece of meat in a slow cooker, the raw in them went through a deep metamorphosis. Grace grabbed their hurtful arguments, and they found the ability not to always have to win. Grace grabbed their selfishness and replaced “Me first,” with “You first.”

Grace fell on their dreams, causing each of them to say, “Not my will, but yours.”

After the resurrection, where there had been doubt, there was now no doubt. Grace wrapped itself tightly around each one as they bravely took the gospel of Becoming Real to the world, facing dangers and eventual death.

Three years of living, walking, fishing, and eating with Jesus had scrubbed off the fake and replaced the false with Real. It never mattered to Jesus that they smelled like fish. Body odors were immaterial. What mattered was soul odor, and the souls of the disciples began to carry a distinctly beautiful and engaging odor. An odor of grace.

If they could have made everyone smell like grace, they would have.

But that’s not how it works. I read once, “I cannot give you what I have, but I can make you homesick for what I’ve found.”

Therein lies the great commission. Go into all the world and make them homesick for what you’ve found. Be real as you hand them the wonderful, delightful odor of grace.

And then watch the metamorphosis take place in them.

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