February 7, 2018

1 Peter 1:6-9

A few years ago, a very unpleasant aroma began emanating from room 141 in FBC Lewisville. As the days passed, it became increasingly apparent the foul stench was the result of a poor creature’s passing; however, no one could locate it. Finally, after stretching the olfactory nerves of our facilities’ team to its limit, the origin of the stench was isolated to an accordion room divider attached to the room’s west wall. Shortly thereafter, a team of men extricated the partition from the room. The “operation” went smoothly until the moment when the tiny arm of a very dead opossum slipped out between the folds of the bottom of the wall right after the men disconnected it from the track and laid it on its side. At the sight of the lifeless limb, a staff member, with the initials Wayne Cotton, confessed he ran from the room squealing “like a little child” in sheer terror at the gruesome sight.

Some antonyms (opposites) for joy are: depression, misery, sadness, seriousness, sorrow, unhappiness, discouragement, dislike, mourning, and woe. However, Peter firmly asserts that joy, when manifested through the Holy Spirit, can exist in the midst of depression, misery, sadness, seriousness, sorrow, unhappiness, discouragement, dislike, mourning, and woe.

Sadly, many Christians do not choose joy. Instead, they allow their difficult circumstances to control and overpower their lives. The prolonged absence of joy in the life of a believer can cause him or her to emit such a foul stench of negativity that the people around them have no choice but to flee, as if they are running away from the smell of a decaying animal.

In 2 Corinthians 2:14-15, Paul wrote: “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ . . .”

Every time I walked in the door of my grandmother’s house when I was little, I always followed my nose directly to her kitchen. I could not wait to see all the pies, candy, and cookies she had made. Her biscuits and rolls smelled so good I could not keep from stuffing as many of them in my mouth as I could, and the great thing about Nanny was she never really said anything about “eating too much would spoil my dinner” because it really wouldn’t have mattered.

With the exception of love, I believe joy is the most “fragrant” of the nine fruit characteristics. For when a Christian exhibits joy during moments of immense pain, non-believers tend to take notice and are inexplicably drawn to the pleasing aroma only true joy can exude. Joy testifies to the difference Jesus makes your life.