God Can Overcome Your Smell
Let me start by telling you how much I missed writing articles the last few months. I left you hanging in my last article by telling you about my life-long struggle with depression. I want to let you know that I took some time off to get some specialized treatment and work on the health concerns I was having. I am in a much better place today. It feels like someone hit my “reset” button. I knew I was struggling but I didn’t realize that I was stuck. I appreciate the thoughts and prayers that many of you shared with me the last several weeks. My door and my email are always open to anyone who needs to talk.
I wanted to share with you some things I have learned recently and over the years that have been helpful to me. First let me say that God is my primary helper and He never gives up on me, even when I give up on myself. His Son has made it possible for me to sit here today in my complete humanity and still have hope and abundance.
One of the areas of my life that I continually strive to master is my emotions. Emotions are good but sometimes they are deceitful, especially if you struggle with a biological or genetic predisposition that makes you vulnerable to emotional illness. Emotional vulnerability can come from any of our senses: what we see, what we smell, what we touch, what we taste or what we hear. Any of our senses can be faith killers if we let them. Today I want you to think about what you smell. Let me also say that this idea was inspired by a sermon I watched and then read recently by Jentzen Franklin who preached his sermon as part of the OnePrayer 2009 program.
There is a great story that many of you know about in the Bible in Daniel, chapter 3, about the three Hebrew children who were put in the fiery furnace but God protected them and when they were brought out of the fiery furnace not a hair on their head was burned? The scripture makes an interesting point in saying that they went through a circumstance where they should have gotten burned, but they came through that fiery situation without even the smell of smoke. That is an important point.
If you want to get subdue your emotions then you need to get a handle on your sense of smell. God doesn’t want you to go through fiery trials and smell like them the rest of your life. Simply surviving isn’t enough. You may have been a victim, you may have endured an addiction, you may have overcome a sin or you may have pressed through a severe hardship but that experience does not define you.
Have you ever met folks who’ve been through a fiery trial and every time you get around them that’s all they talk about, that’s all they complain about, that’s all they whine about? Well, maybe you got burned in a relationship or you got burned in a business deal or you got burned at a church or somebody hurt you and now you judge everybody that same way? If you’re going to have victory in the faith fight, you’ve got to get victory over what you smell.
I don’t want to smell like everything I’ve been through. I’ve been through a lot of stuff in life and in ministry. I don’t want to take home or take over to someone else’s house, or take back to my friends and family the smell of life’s crap.
You may recall in Luke, chapter 11, the Bible said that Lazarus was dead three days, and remember that Jesus came along and said, “Remove the stone.” But the family says, “He’s been dead for three days and by now he stinketh.” That was a statement of unbelief, because Jesus had already said, “Move the stone.” I don’t care what condition he’s in.
What Jesus is saying to us is “sure, it may stink, but still believe.” Maybe your marriage stinks, but still believe. Maybe your finances stink right now, but still believe. Maybe your children are going through a season where it seems like they just can’t get their act together and you feel like giving up, and maybe you say it stinks but Jesus says roll the stone away. Our God is able in spite of what we see, in spite of what we feel, in spite of what we smell, in spite of what we sense. Our God is able.
But if you’re not careful, you will carry around that smell of disbelief and doubt and that bad thing that happened to you. And if you’re not careful, you go through so much stuff, you get burned by so many people, you go through so many situations that you start going around with an old stinky attitude and old stinky words and negative attitude, but God says to us that just because you’ve been through the fire, you don’t have to smell like it, you’ve still got a future.