“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.
Pat McRae says:February 2, 2015 at 9:31 pm
This portion has taken some pondering!
“But thanks be to God” seems to be where my heart is landing with much joy and thanksgiving today. During testimonies I often hear people say “I do not know where I would be today if it were not for God’s intervention in my life.” Lots of times it just went over my head because as a child I gave my heart to God and knew Jesus died for my sins. But then it started to humble me and I began to realize that even we who are saved young and do not enter into a lot of what others do we still make choices that sadden God. In those choices if God did not intervene and show us the choice is not a wise one, where would we really be?
So today “thanks be to God” has great meaning to me. 🙂
Thanks be to God that as a stiff neck, rebellious teen God never took His love or care for me away. He continued to remain with me, keeping a part of me soft towards Him, always answering my cries for help in amazing ways and leading me through the very dark times of consequences to the other side in His timing.
Thanks be to God as a young wife and mother, who had no idea how to be either, His Holy Spirit came to teach me. Oh some lessons I passed with flying colours, but others had to be rewritten over and over again because I just didn’t get the concept. But never once did condemnation come from Him, I didn’t even need the enemy to condemn me I was very good at doing that to myself. One can be very nasty to oneself at times and that usually leads to one being very nasty to others.
Thanks be to God that He saved me from me during my first divorce. I just wanted to die, the pain was just too much. But more then the pain I did not want to spend eternity in hell so I held on to Him. It was during this time that I learned how to be real with God. I found out my x and his girlfriend were having twin boys. I had 4 beautiful girls but never got the son I so desperately wanted. So I yelled, pounded my bed and said unfair, until one day totally exhausted by the anger and yet elated because God had allowed me to lead a few women in a discussion about a teaching we had just had. As I walked home that night God reminded me of a prayer I made “God if there is someone he can love and have his sons with, let it be” and God had warned me just months earlier to be careful what I prayed. Funny how in one swoop He can show you how to let go and move on. 🙂
Thanks be to God for the next many seasons that strengthen me and kept enlargening my desire to be on the mission field. With all the mountain tops and low, low valleys over those years. I continued to hope one day He would open a door no man could close. And then in 2013 I came home to SVG. I had never been here before but I knew in my heart I had finally found home here on earth. Oh it is only my temporal home until God calls me to my heavenly home but it is home now.
Thanks be to God that with only His dream to stand on I was able to hear His instructions and do them each in His timing. I did not have to beat a door down or stand on my head, I just had to wait on Him, make the choice to follow where He lead and the rest was His doing. 50 years to the day of my first marriage,where I pushed the dream down, to take what I thought was the easier road, I flew home.
Thanks be to God I have come to participate in His revival of self and His church. The unwrapping of me has begun,His work is not finished but as I get unwrapped so does He. He becomes able to move more freely in and through a life that is not bound by life’s hurts and rejection, and generational curses. It’s exciting watching Him move in lives especially in your own.
So today, day 10 I say “Thanks be to God!” His process is in full motion, rolling fast to a completion that will bring glory to His Name.
Yes thank You Jesus! 🙂
Jim Holmes says:February 2, 2015 at 10:18 pm
The road that we take is narrow, and the path we take can have many twists and steep places, and dark valleys…yet we rejoice that the One who leads us is Our Shepherd whose rod and staff is a comfort to us. “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession. The fragrance of the knowledge of Him, being with Him, is spread everywhere. For we trust Him, becoming more and more like Him. We are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” I thank God for my brothers and sisters in Christ…you are such an aroma of Christ to me. Christ in you…also my hope and glory… Truly, we serve God…as broken vessels…releasing His fragrance everywhere we go. It is not us, but it is His working in and through us. Praise God for His mighty works. When I feel lost and alone, and don’t know the way, I remember He is the Way…. If He leads, I am found, I know the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Sue Holmes says:February 2, 2015 at 10:25 pm
Here is that word “always” again. There really is no way to escape it since we are dealing with the Eternal God … no beginning – no end – always was, always is and always will. The fact that our God always leads us triumphantly leaves me with no excuse. And yet this very thing becomes my biggest struggle at times. Deciding whether I am living in the realm of reason or excuse can be a battle. When do I give myself permission to slow down and when to I accept that maybe I am making excuses for myself?
The only way to properly discern the two is by staying in relationship with our Father. If Paul could push on for the Kingdom in spite of the hardships he endured, then I really have no excuse and most of my ‘reasons’ are most likely invalid. Years of battling disease(s) leaves me with many questions when it comes to this very thing. And then I have to remind myself that Paul himself admitted to health battles. He relied on others at times to write his epistles when his eyesight challenged him and also to minister to him in various other ways. So, maybe my answer is not so much whether I can rely on Him to lead me triumphantly when I am actively engaged in battle. Maybe I need to ask myself if I can also trust Him to lead me triumphantly when all I can do is ‘hang on’ to Daddy’s hand … and thank Him that the victory isn’t dependent on me.
I, also, am so glad that the apostle did not say “sometimes we win, sometimes we lose”. I am grateful that the key phrase here is “in Christ always leads us”. My job is to stay “in Christ”. Even in my worst days … as long as I stay “in Christ” I know that I am being lead in triumph. On those days when I lift my hands to Daddy and ask Him to hold on to me because I am all to aware of my weakness, I am grateful.
I struggle at times to see my life as the aroma of Christ. Really, Christ? He is everyhting good, everything pure, everything holy. Like the psalmist I can say that I am filth … a worm. Until I remember the cross. The cross made it all possible. The cross allows me to be “in Christ”. I pray that I hide myself so completely in Christ that my weaknesses are hidden in His strength. I pray that I hide myself so completely in Christ that His aroma is the only thing that permeates the atmosphere. No matter my circumstances, I pray that only Christ is seen.
I thank God for the cross. I thank God that he still uses broken vessels. I thank God that He makes the weak strong and the broken whole. He is my all and without Him I am lost.