I want to first tell you a little bit about the church I attend. It is a small storefront building that has a stage and soundbooth and seating for about 100 people. So the space is pretty small and a bit dark, but it’s where we worship and we give praise to God for it.
It’s an old building that has housing upstairs where our pastors live. Older buildings have lot’s of problems and our building is no different, but God always makes a way for whatever repairs or upkeep that is needed, gets done.
The congregation is made up of many of the poorest families in our community, people who were formerly homeless, who’ve dealt with drug use, alcoholism, neglect and abuse. These members have overcome many adversities, through growing Faith in God and help from those in ministry leadership to encourage them.
Our praise and worship team is phenomenal in that they are able to produce an atmosphere of worship in which the Spirit of God can flow and His tangible presence is felt in the hearts of the men, women and children at our service. Hearts melt, strongholds are broken and people experience “God with us”!
This past Sunday, I was listening to the worship team and watching our members, who dance before the Lord each and every Sunday with total abandonment….it’s a beautiful thing, and on many occasions I too join in. This particular Sunday though, I sat out and observed and listened. Then, I began to smell an odor….which grew stronger and stronger as the people danced before the Lord.
I would like to say that this was a pleasant sweet smelling odor, but it was not; you see the reality is that many of people that come to our Sunday services, don’t have access to clean clothes, baths or showers….and they smell….really badly sometimes!
After I got home, I started thinking about the fact that even though many of the people at our service have nothing and have little opportunity to clean themselves up….they worship Lord God with total abandonment during our services and it’s a beautiful thing. I’ve been to many other traditional churches where the members are clean, and dressed well and aren’t down and out and I thought about how well organized their worship teams and choirs are, how their praise dancers are so well rehearsed and they’re all coordinated in their dress; they’ve just got it all together.
I thought, Lord there is such a huge difference in the conditions that our church and other churches operate under, but I have to say….these poor bedraggled people worship God with such abandonment and with their whole being they dance unashamedly before God with no formality just utter worship before their God.
I’m saying all this to make this point: I’ve often heard quoted during or after worship services….especially at traditional churches that I’ve gone to that….”our praise is a sweet smelling savor to the Lord”! And when you make the comparison, visually and intellectually, the difference is like night and day. These well dressed good smelling saints, who rock and sway to the sounds of their well organized, well coordinated choirs, worship teams and praise dancers….compared to the folks at our church who don’t smell so nice or don’t have clean clothes who come to us after having been drunk or drugged up all night….and some of them get inspired and drawn into the praise and worship!
SO WHO SMELLS BETTER TO GOD?
I ask this question because we have to change our perception of what and who is pleasing to God in our worship. God is not impressed with our dazzling outfits and displays of high-sounding worship….that is so orchestrated and rehearsed….and has not come from a sacrificial heart of worship. True worship of God is a sacrifice!
I was reading in the O.T. and found nearly 40 references to the sacrifices made by the high priests to God on behalf of the people and each reference states that these sacrifices were a soothing aroma to the Lord. So that should let us know that our sacrifice of praise is the soothing aroma that God looks for! You or I can’t put on enough fragrance to be a sweet smelling and soothing aroma to God….it comes from the sacrifices we are willing to give to Him.
And so I sat and I watched these precious people, dancing and worshipping before the Lord, with utter abandonment and I know that this must be a soothing aroma, a sweet fragrance to Our Lord….it is the aroma of Christ in us that soothes and pleases our God.
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
3you may bring offerings by fire to the Lord. They may be burnt offerings or any other kind of sacrifice. They may be offered to fulfill a vow, as a freewill offering, or as one of your festival offerings. They may be cattle, sheep, or goats—offerings that are a soothing aroma to the Lord.
2 Corinthians 2:14-16
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
14But I thank God, who always leads us in victory because of Christ. Wherever we go, God uses us to make clear what it means to know Christ. It’s like a fragrance that fills the air. 15To God we are the aroma of Christ among those who are saved and among those who are dying. 16To some people we are a deadly fragrance, while to others we are a life-giving fragrance.
Father God, I pray in the name of your Precious Son Jesus Christ that a desire to worship you in Spirit and in Truth will over take us and we will offer a sacrifice of praise that is a sweet aroma to you. That our sacrifice of praise will come from deep within our hearts and that we will not ever think that anything that we contrive or rehearse or conjure up through our carnal nature is pleasing to you. I thank you for the precious saints in our church community and everywhere in the world who may have very little or nothing materially but have a deep desire to offer a sacrifice of praise to you Lord….In Yeshua/Jesus Name I pray….Amen!