Wednesday, July 11, 2007
In high school, I dated a girl who worked at the local Dairy Queen. Some nights, I'd pick her up after work, just for the opportunity to have 10 minutes in the car with her as I took her home. Okay, maybe sometimes it would become a 20 minute trip, but you get the idea. I really liked this girl. But I couldn't get past the smell. You know...that greasy, standing next to the fryer, serving cheeseburgers for 8 hours smell. Yech! Her clothes smelled like it. Her hair smelled like it. And then, after I'd drop her off at her house, my car smelled like it. My friends could tell when Belinda had been in the car, from the smell alone. My houseparents could tell when I had been with her. It was some serious "residue." Conversely, she probably didn't like my smell either. I grew up in a children's home. "The Home", as we called it, was actually a working ranch. 900 acres of land. 350 head of cattle. 8-10 horses...and a few pigs. Yeah, I smelled like a ranch. I smelled like cow poo and hay. I carried that smell with me into the house after a day of working on the ranch. My clothes wreaked of it. Residue. You see, no matter where you go, there's some residue. There are traces that show where you've been. That's the way it is with our sins. They rub off on us. They leave a stink behind. And not just where you've been, but where the people you hang out with have been. You're carrying their residue too. Sometimes you get so used to the smell of your own sin, that you can't even tell it's there anymore. So you think you can lie to people. "No, I didn't do that!" But someone will be able to tell. Someone will smell the stench of sin on you. It's a like a smoker who swears that he quit two weeks ago, but wreaks of the cigarette he just snuck around the back of the building to light up. He can't smell it on him. He's too used to the smell. But he wreaks of it. You can smell it. It's residue. When Moses spent time with God, he had some residue too. It wasn't necessarily smell, but it was in his appearance. Spending time with God left "spiritual residue." Exodus tells us that his face shone so brightly, that it frightened the Israelites. He had to wear a veil to cover it, just so people would stop freaking out. Man, I'd love to be so close to God that when people saw me, they could tell. Can you imagine having that kind of residue? In Acts, Peter and John were speaking at the Sanhedrin. The "spiritual leaders" marveled at the fact that these two uneducated men were preaching with such authority. They said they could tell that Peter and John had been with Jesus. Wouldn't it be nice if our words were residue, left over from our time with Christ? I'm not much of a theologian, but I believe that Jesus' blood is kinda like Spray n' Wash and fabric softener all in one. When you accept Jesus as Lord, you wash in the blood to get rid of the stain of your sins...and find your heart softened. And it leaves you with that "spring fresh" scent! Ha! Wouldn't it be nice if that's all the residue that people see? Wouldn't it be wonderful if people could look at you and see that you've "been with Jesus?" 2nd Corinthians tells us that when we are washed in the blood of Christ, we become "the fragrance of Christ." When God looks at us, He smells the fragrance of Christ, and not our sins. Now that's the ultimate, powerful, stain-resistant, odor-killing spiritual residue! I wonder where you are today. I wonder where you've been. I wonder what residue you take with you. Are you trying to hide from a past that keeps catching up with you? Are trying to cover the smell of where you've been with something else? Are you so used to the smell that you can't even tell anymore? Take on the spiritual Spray n' Wash and fabric softener. Take away the smell of your sin. We could all use some of that spiritual residue. May you spend time with Jesus today. And may others see it--or smell it--on you.