My Bible is open for the first time in almost a week and I’ve found the scriptures’ take on an expression I went to bed with.
I had been thinking of how I’m perceived, in a crowd of strangers who don’t know me, amongst artists and shoppers, women, their children.
For the first time in the bulk of my years it wasn’t about my shoes, my hair, my jewelry, my purse, or even my perfume.
I’ve been without my favorite scent called “Happy” for a bit and so the scent on a not so clear and cool day? I’m hoping it was “Dove” laced clear and clean aroma.
Most of us want to be found “worthy” of good things, pleasant to be with, able to hold a good conversation.
We want to have comparable lives to the ones we are with.
We want to be okay being with most everyone.
Before sleep last night I followed a thought trail to the question of what it means to walk worthy of Christ.
What a life that throws out all other measurements of worth held by society and individuals and simply is focused, content, and well, really just happy to only have one assessor of worth so to speak.
Then I wondered how walking worthy would really look, not me looking at me, but others’ views.
The Book of II Corinthians has four chapters spread across two pages in my Bible.
On the left margin I’ve sketched what looks like a steep hill going up a curve and towards a tunnel. I must’ve been reading Paul’s words about how we may think we are irrevocably affected by our pasts.
But we have lives resurrected, we have hope.
“Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”
2 Corinthians 1:9-10 ESV
There are some things I shouldn’t have survived. Before, I questioned how and why I made it through. Now, I’m quite certain my present life, the nearness of God, is the reason.
On the right hand margin, there’s a sketch of what I’ve begun calling “margin girls”.
This pencil sketch is an early one with no color and at her feet, I’ve drawn a clay pot and a beautiful rose.
As Paul continues his writing, Chapter 2 is about triumph over our pasts. This is the place where the verse lives that describes what our walk is when we believe, what our aura and aroma will be amongst others.
He also owns his own horrible and murderous past and writes that if we’ve been forgiven, the best thing we can do is to forgive others as well.
“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 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? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.”
2 Corinthians 2:14-17 ESV
It occurs to me now, I used the word “peddler” just last week as I described how I detest convincing, imploring someone through my own neediness that they need to purchase a painting.
” Peddlers”, I think of insincere and unconvinced vendors.
That’s not who I want to be, when I offer up my belief in Jesus as something others are open to believing.
No, I share the meaning behind the layers in a piece and onlookers are captivated, drawn closer, decide they’d like to own what God has helped me create.
The idea of the painting, the aroma of Jesus in me, inviting curiosity, not unpleasant.
If I’m found worthy, I want to be found a gentle, confident, pleasingly consistent scent of grace and mercy, salvation through my belief in Jesus.
Years ago, two or three, I heard the Holy Spirit say to me
This is your treasure…your art and your writing.
I was thrilled to be found worthy of such a calling! Impressed that I had progressed to such a place, excited…okay, finally it’s my big break kind of thinking.
But, I’m learning slowly, a treasure is small at first and may never be grand or spectacular at all or in an earthly way.
Instead, the treasure only increases in worth when it’s given back through uncertain and timid hands to the one who made it after all.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”
2 Corinthians 4:7-11 ESV
The thing about God and His teachings through the words of people like Paul is that we don’t understand it fully all at once.
Over time we ponder what is the aroma of Christ that those around me should sense?
What does it really mean to be clay in the potter’s hand waiting to be made into a vessel in which can rest our undeniable faith?
What does it mean to discard all self and others’ assessments of our ability and worth and walk only with one goal.
I want to walk worthy of the God who gave His Son and gifted me through grace to have the Spirit of Jesus in my own very soul. I want to live worthy of this, nothing more.
I suppose if their were a new scent, maybe the Clinique scent called “Happy” I loved so much before, I’ve outgrown.
I’d wear a new aroma, one called “Content” if I owned another pretty bottle.
How are your growing, measuring your worth and your worthiness?
Are you content?
Are you learning?
Content in not suddenly complete and completed?
Content in the balance of caring for the treasure of you, the treasured things you were created to share.
Continue and believe.
You are God’s treasure.