I have recently been introduced to essential oils. Full of health benefits, these oils are derived from a variety of sources – everything from roses to frankincense. When applied or taken internally, they can provide nutrients that our body needs, or heal places that need to be restored. Only a few drops can do wonders to the human body.
I have started applying them, and the first thing I noticed was the aroma. Though I might not notice the scent as the day goes on, my husband certainly does. He’ll come home from work with a hug and kiss and voice his observation: “Hmmm, smells like stale potpourri.” I had, of course, applied a combination of lemon, frankincense, marjoram, and peppermint. Could be worse.
I have noticed in my new essential oil experience that not all oils smell the same. In fact, some smell terrible and taste even worse. They are all oils, yet give off a different fragrance depending on what plant they were derived from. To the keen nose, the scent might be identifiable. Others might not be so easy to recognize.
The three methods off partaking of these oils are applying topically, orally, or by diffusing into the air. Most essential oil companies sell a “diffuser,” a gadget that disperses the oil into the room. Take a deep breath and voila!, you’ve inhaled the scent and potency of an essential oil.
The idea of diffusing essential oils reminds me of 2 Corinthians 2:14-15: “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” (NKJV)
Like essential oils, Christians give off a certain “fragrance.” Wherever we go, we are diffusing the fragrance of something. That something is entirely up to us. It’s our choice whether we diffuse the scent of ourselves, the world, or Jesus. Each aroma is identifiable to those smelling it, but whether or not it is a pleasing scent is another matter.
When we give off the fragrance of ourselves, it brings attention to us and no one else. It can be sweet and pleasing one day, but irritating and grouchy the next, all depending on our mood. Dispersing the fragrance of the world is anything but lovely as it is tainted with sin and selfishness – hardly a sweet smell. Diffusing “the fragrance of His knowledge,” however, surpasses them all. Filled with the Fruits of the Spirit, good works, and the nature of Jesus Himself, the fragrance is the sweetest of all. It invites people to linger and enjoy, and to come back for more.
When we consistently diffuse God’s nature and attributes into the world, it draws people to Jesus. It causes them to see who Jesus really is. It invites them to find out more about Him, and ultimately have a relationship with Him. For those who are already saved, it encourages them to become more like Jesus, providing for them an example that encourages and inspires them.
The amazing thing about being a “diffuser” is that it’s us, not God, that is doing the diffusing. As God, He could just pour the “essential oil” of His nature into the world, totally bypassing us. In many ways, it would probably be easier and more fool proof. Nevertheless, He has chosen us and given us the great responsibility and honor of representing Him on the earth.
The thought of representing God can be intimidating, but He hasn’t left us trying to diffuse Him with our own resources. He’s given us a “gadget” called the Holy Spirit. “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever . . .” John 14:16 (NKJV) So much more than a gadget, He is a constant source of power that we couldn’t do without.
Next time I apply an essential oil, I’m going to keep in mind what others smell when they are near me. Is the fragrance along the lines of a random combination of my attributes, a mimic of stale potpourri? Or will it carry the sweet fragrance of the nature of Jesus, beautiful and pure because it’s diffusing only Him?