Have you ever seen that Febreze commercial where they blindfold people and lead them into disgusting places they have treated with Febreze and ask them to let them know what they smell? These commercials were a part of an advertising campaign that Febreze launched in order to show people their product actually works rather than just saying it does. The commercials were pretty funny, seeing people sitting on old hair-covered couches with multiple trash piles scattered about, describing that they smell lavender and fresh linen. The message was both repulsive and advertising genius: No matter what your house smells like our product will not only neutralize the smell, but it will cover it right up too.
This past week I was in the “Taking Back Christianese” Sunday School class, in which Ruling Elder Tom Queen was dissecting the saying “Preach the gospel always, if necessary use words.” The class was helpful and insightful and Tom did a great job expressing the need for sharing the good news of the gospel as well as living lives that point others to Jesus. During the section of the class when he was talking about what was right about this phrase he mentioned that our lives are to “Give off Jesus” and he cited 2 Corinthians 2:15-16.
“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?”
When I read these verses I remembered the Febreze commercial and I had an interesting thought…”Don’t Febreze your life.” It seems like every day our culture gets more opposed to a host of critical and central biblical truths and we as believers are left wondering how exactly are we supposed to live out our faith in this world? In the social, political and emotional state our culture finds itself in there are numerous landmines that we can walk into. Sometimes it feels like no subject is “safe,” and conversely unsafe matters, or matters in which our viewpoint might not be widely accepted come up a lot. Many have expressed that common questions are: when things come up should I respond? If so, how should I respond?
In a landscape such as this you might be reluctant to speak, or tempted to cover up parts of your faith that you think might be offensive. There are a host of reasons that would motivate us to keep people from sniffing out that we are real life Bible believing Christians. Just consider some of the fears:
- We fear offending someone personally
- We fear that if we do speak they might turn questions on us, and what if we don’t know enough to articulate satisfactory answers?
- We fear, what if we speak up at work and it doesn’t just affect me personally, but it affects me professionally as well?
Our current complex cultural landscape does bring challenges, and we need to think through how to be both wise and innocent (Matthew 10:16), but if we are to be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15), then we have to live in a way that shows others our hope right? Others have to see that our hope is different than the hope of this world right? Right!
You are called to live out your faith, and as you live out your faith you will give off Christ. Your aroma will be life to some and death to others. Some will be interested and some will be repulsed, God promised it would be this way. So don’t fall into the temptation to neutralize your witness or worse trying to smell like something that you think others will like more. Don’t Febreze your life.
Instead, be wise and be bold. As God opens opportunities, allow your faith to be known and when you do stand out trust God to use your witness. Maybe your surprising answers to a question or response to an issue is the thing that God will use to open a door for a conversation that points someone to Christ.
If you want to listen to this Sunday school class you can find it on the Uptown App under the Listen tab or you can CLICK HERE to listen on the website.
Author: Rev. Dave Kulp