How Is Your Spiritual Aroma?
10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. 11 And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. (Exodus 19:10-11)
When we go on a date, be it with a spouse or someone we just met, we take careful measures to make sure we are presentable and appealing. We bathe or shower, we fix our hair, women put on makeup (though natural beauty is much better!) we put on clean clothes, and then we put on cologne or perfume. We go through what seems like a ritual to prepare ourselves to meet the one who has caught our heart. We want to make the best impression or, in the case of a spouse, keep their attention. If we go through such measures to meet with others, should we not go through such measures spiritually to meet with God?
What we see from this procedure that God was requesting from the Israelites is that they were to prepare themselves to meet Him. The cleaning of their garments represents their understanding that God is a holy God and He requires holiness when they were to meet Him. Though this was an outward act, it was teaching them about internal purity and holiness when meeting the Lord. We also see in verse 15 they were to abstain from any sensual pleasures as part of their consecration:
And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not come near your wives.”
It’s not that sexual activity with their spouse was wrong, but they needed to be completely focused on meeting the Lord and refrain from anything that would interfere with that focus.
Though it is always nice to be physically presentable when we meet with the Lord, He is more concerned with the condition of our hearts. As I noted, the physical preparation represented their internal consecration. So the question is…how is your heart when you go before the Lord or go to church? Do you cleanse yourself prior to meeting Him? Do you reflect on your sins, confess them and repent or do you go before Him in a rush, angry, bitter, jealous? Prior to going to church, are you frustrated, in a hurry, or in an unforgiving state? Or have you taken time, before the family gets up (or the night before), to reflect on the condition of your heart and ask for forgiveness?
Romans 12:1-2 calls us to do the following:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Conversion and sanctification are the renewing of the mind; a change of the qualities of the soul.
So how do we consecrate ourselves? James 4:8-10 gives us an idea of how we are to consecrate ourselves:
James 4:8-10 gives us an idea of how we are to consecrate ourselves:
1. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you
2. Cleanse your hands – stop sinning
3. Purify your hearts – face your wrong feelings and attitudes and surrender them to the Lord
4. Lament and mourn and weep – take your sin seriously and realize it has to go
5. Humble yourself – You must humble yourself before the Lord, recognizing His holiness, and get right with Him
Many times, we rush in before the Lord, be it in church or in our personal time with Him, without giving real thought to the condition of our hearts. We forget how holy He is and become comfortable with the fact that He is our loving Father. We may go to church and chat with others until it’s time for worship to begin instead of reflecting on the condition of our hearts and getting right with God before trying to enter into worship. We wouldn’t meet our own parents in a dirty physical state, neither should we meet our spiritual Father in a dirty spiritual state. We now must question what type of aroma we are giving off to the Lord… a sweet smelling aroma or a dirty, uncleansed aroma. This doesn’t mean when we are having a bad day we can’t talk to God at that moment. He is fully willing to listen to our situations, both good and bad. It simply means that we must learn to recognize the importance of our personal meetings with God and take the time to prepare to meet Him, consecrating ourselves. No amount of good works is going to make us spiritually clean before Him. We must recognize and face our sin, confess it, repent of it, surrender it and ask for forgiveness.
The next time you go before the Lord, take the time to consecrate yourself, reflecting on the condition of your heart. This shows the Lord you take your meeting with Him seriously and wish to have a sweet smelling aroma when you meet with Him and that you recognize His holiness and your need to be holy.