2 Corinthians 2: Are You Adequate?
“But thanks be to God,
who always leads us in His triumph in Christ,
and manifests through us the sweet aroma
of the knowledge of Him in every place.
2 Corinthians 2:14 (NASB)
Last Wednesday’s post, “Comfort” introduced you to a man who refused the sweet aroma of Christ. As far as I know, he perished in death’s stench. To him my words and life proved to be,
“a fragrance of Christ to God … an aroma from death to death …” (16)
But there is another who lived in his house.
The phone rang. “Donna?” A breathless pause filled the receiver before the laboring voice continued. “Can you come help me? My oxygen isn’t working.”
“Sure, I’ll be right over.” With a quick prayer I walked next door and entered being sure to breath through my mouth. It was better to taste the smell than breath it in. I only knew to call her Granny. At 67 years of age she lived in the body of one bearing 107 years. A hard life covered her flesh. And she lived with the burden of her son abusing her grandchildren and she was powerless to prevent it. The aroma of death surrounded her. But her story didn’t end there.
“For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;
to the one,
an aroma from death to death,
to the other,
an aroma from life to life.
And who is adequate for these things? “
2 Corinthians 2:14-16(NASB)
After 12 years of the children living in unimaginable circumstances, The Department of Children and Family Services removed them from the home and arrested their father. He dropped dead 2 months later and 30 minutes after being released. His release came because authorities failed to charge him. During that time Granny was hospitalized.
A stirring in my heart urged me to visit her in the hospital. I didn’t want to go. The Holy Spirit would not let go. Peace alluded me as I tried to ignore the prompting. Finally, I went.
The hospital bed swallowed the frail frame of a woman. A nurse stood to one side checking ivs. The figure lay lifeless, eyes shut, breaths labored.
“Can she hear me?”
The nurse nodded and said, “If you touch her hand she seems to respond to touch.”
I laid my hand over hers and prayed silently to know what to say. Then I began to tell her of God’s love and that’s when the Lord spoke to my heart. “It’s not about what you’re saying to her but what I’m saying to her.”
The Lord was with us and in that moment I knew this woman who was perishing, now had received the fragrance of Christ—the aroma from life to life. Through the Spirit’s witness to mine, I knew I could tell her grandchildren their Granny would be in heaven and how they could see her again.
And who is adequate for these things?
The apostle Paul tells us—
“Not that we are adequate in ourselves
to consider anything as coming from ourselves,
but our adequacy is from God,
who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant,
not of the letter, but of the Spirit;
for the letter kills,
but the Spirit gives life.”
2 Corinthians 3:5-6
It was never about me but the fragrance of Christ, the aroma of life, He uses us to leave in another’s life.
Not everyone Paul went to received the fragrant word of the gospel to life, but they all had the opportunity. God has chosen us to carry the fragrance of Christ through the lives we live, and He makes us adequate for the task. Not everyone will receive the sweet aroma of life—but some will.
For Thought: Do you ever feel you are not enough for speaking the gospel to another? Or for a task the Lord has called you to? How can 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 help you?
Our Prayer: Heavenly Father, as you have given us life in Christ, may we carry the sweet fragrance of life to all who will hear. May others see Jesus in us. May they know we have been with Him, that our lives bring no discredit to the ministry of the gospel. Help us be bold in love for you have made us adequate for the calling.