But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing (2 Cor. 2:14-15).
I just noticed today, in the second sentence above, that it says we are the aroma of Christ. It’s not just a whiff of fragrance that clings to us when we have been particularly close to him, it is also who we become as we join Christ in his work. Not working hard for him, but working with him—looking at our surroundings with his eyes, obeying his nudges, making room for him in every situation, not stepping in to speak or act before he has established our thinking and prepared the situation. Imagine how much like him we become as we work that closely with him!
Verse 14 identifies the fragrance we can carry to the world as “the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” We don’t have that fragrance without knowing him intimately. Such knowledge of him comes to every believer from time to time, when we are particularly aware of him, when he comes to us in assurance, when we see his glory, when we receive a call from him. At such times we become radiant for a while with the love, joy, and peace of God. It’s as if we are wearing his cologne. But we can become so Christ-like that we don’t just wear his aroma, we are the aroma of Christ, day in and day out. This happens by spending our days in “the knowledge of him”—keeping our hearts worshipfully open to him and walking through every event in glad, conscious partnership.