“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.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 ESV
This journey of gratitude has been revealing a lot to me about my heart and about how I have separated myself from those in Scripture. If I look at those in the Word as “extra special” and “exceptionally gifted”, then I can easily excuse myself from responding to life in much the same fashion as they did. I can say to myself that those responses are not for everyone, but this is simply not true.
I am finding in my own heart some of the very things we have been addressing in previous studies. Could lack of gratitude actually allow me to make excuses for myself? You can be sure, it definitely will. None of us would ever consider ourselves ungrateful, but how do we really see ourselves in relation to God? Do we feel like we have sometimes been dealt with unjustly? Do, we think that He is not fair?
Do those questions come from our overflow of gratitude or something less?
You see Paul writes something very powerful here. Thanks be to God, who “in Christ” always leads us in triumphal procession. Paul understood troubles like most of us never will. How can a man who wrote much of what we read from prison, be so thankful? What causes him to see a triumphal procession in the midst of the continual daily battle? He did not say, “sometimes we win, sometimes we lose”, he says always triumphant. The key here though is, ‘in Christ’. All of our triumphs are in Christ. Christ cannot be defeated. He is not a captive, He is Victor. Think about this for a moment, not one situation in your life has the power to make you a victim, if you choose to walk in Christ. I may not understand your battle, and your excuse, but none of us can understand Paul’s and yet he declared it to be true.
How could he see triumph while suffering? Paul remembered who he was before Christ. Paul kept his focus on Christ and not his surroundings. He moved his attention from self to the triumphant Christ.
Always, is a strong word here. Always does not mean sometimes. It means what it says. I never have to be without a thankful heart when I hide in the triumphant One. What could appear to be a matter of great disgrace, like persecution, is actually accomplishing much. They are a reminder that His fragrance is being released.
Imagine if you or I, in the midst of our battle, rather than focus on our injustice actually began to realize that the enemy’s assault is evidence of God’s fragrance being released. Whether we know it or not, the fragrance of the knowledge of Him is being spread everywhere by those who walk in Him.
So, what is my battle today? Am I zoned in on the battle or the Victor? Can I envision that my life is spreading the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere? Not just when I think it is, not when I feel like it is. Always, and everywhere. How is that possible? Maybe because it isn’t about me. It never was.
Today I am grateful that His fragrance gets out even when I feel less than capable. I am thankful that He doesn’t just lead me in triumphant victory when I get it all right, but always. Because He really is un-defeatable. I am humbled and reminded that this is not about me, but about His fragrance and Him being made known everywhere. I have met those fragrance releasers often in my life. They love Him and aren’t self absorbed, but Jesus lovers. I am grateful for them, but I am also grateful for the struggling ones. They remind me that I am not alone in the desire to try to appropriate this Word.