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One Year Bible Reading Plan and Devotional

Today’s Bible Reading: February 9

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Leviticus 7-9

Matthew 25:31-46

What is the Aroma of Your Heart?

What is the aroma of your heart?

2 Corinthians 2:14 -15 says, “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” We have all stepped into an empty elevator or room that was just vacated by someone with too much of a strong perfume or cologne. The smell of the fragrance lingers in the air. The same should be true for Christians – because we have the Holy Spirit within us, everywhere we go, and with every person we come in contact with, we should leave behind the fragrance of Jesus.

If we are going to leave behind the fragrance of Jesus, we must ask, “What is the aroma of my heart?? Is it a putrefied stench because it is full of pride, arrogance, bitterness and hatred? Or is your heart full of compassion, love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, and goodness that is a pleasing aroma to God? Your attitude is a testimony that determines the aroma of your heart. When your attitude stinks, so does your heart. But when your attitude imitates Christ, it is a pleasing aroma. To every person you come in contact with, you either leave a stench of a rotten heart or the pleasing aroma of Christ who lives in you.

The aroma of your heart begins in your mind

Often, the aroma of your heart starts in your mind. James1:14-15 tells us the path that leads to sin. James writes, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” This diagram explains these verses:

Any temptation begins in the mind, including bad attitudes. Satan lures us into a bad attitude by convincing us that someone did something wrong to us, or that we deserve something better in life, or because God didn’t answer a prayer in the way we wanted or expected Him to. The longer we nurse those attitudes and hang on to them, we stay trapped in the grave of sin and the longer we are there, the more skinky we become.

Since bad attitudes, like any other sin, begins in the mind, we should start our journey to the source of our attitudes by examining our thoughts.

Is the Aroma of your heart a sweet-smelling savor?

Genesis 8:21 tells us that shortly after Noah and his family had been saved by the Ark, Noah built an altar and offered the Lord a burned offering. The Bible says, “the Lord smelled a sweet savor.” In Ephesians 5:2, Paul writes that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that atoned for our sins was a sweet-smelling aroma and therefore we are to walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us. When our heart has a right attitude, and we are sacrificially giving and serving God by serving others, it is like a pleasing and sweet-smelling savor to God.

What does a heart with a sweet-smelling aroma look like?

Using the acronym for aromas, we find that such a heart is:

Agreeable – sweet disposition! “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

Reverence – submissive and humble spirit! “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Obedience – saying “yes Lord”! “as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance.” 1Peter 1:14

Music – singing praises! “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:19

Agape – sacrificial, unconditional love for both other Christians and the lost! “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; and love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1Corinthians 13:1, 4-8, 13

Servant hearted – eager to serve God and others. Puts others above self. Full of compassion and mercy. “and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave;  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:27-28

Feed your mind on godly things to have a heart with a pleasing aroma

As we feed our minds with godly things through reading and studying scripture, praise, prayer, and worship we can be sure that bad attitudes have no room to creep in and steal our “Jesus fragrance.” Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.”

Does the aroma of your heart create a stench in the room?

Negative or bad attitudes have the opposite effect and rather than a sweet-smelling savor, the aroma is a putrefying stench because there is sin in the heart. Romans 6:23 says that the “wages of sin is death” and as with any other sin, the sin of a bad attitude gives the stench of death. What’s more, bad attitudes often become the gateway to other sins. Galatians 5:19-21 says, “Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Again, using the acronym for aromas, we can use Galatian 5:19-21 to see what kinds of attitudes are in this heart.

Argumentative –  “Say what?!”  “But why?!” “Lord, can’t someone else do that?” They will argue their point of view even if they know they are wrong. They stir of strife and dissensions and factions.

Rude – Short and sour tempered! Snappy and unhappy! Arrogant and condescending. Road bullies.

Obstinate –  Stubborn pride! Like a mule! Refuses to repent or forgive.

Miserable – If I’m miserable, I’ll make everyone else miserable because misery love company. This person is full of hate, jealousy, stirs up strife and creates division. They may try to drown their misery through sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, sorcery, drunkenness (or other addictions) and carousing.

Angry –  Seething temper with outbursts of anger! Everything’s an offense! full of hate, stirs up strife and creates division.

SelfishIt’s all about me! I want things my way! Envious and Jealous, has idols

What are the root causes of a heart with a bad attitude?

A heart with a bad attitude is so stinky, that it is like the pungent, overpowering scent of burnt popcorn, scorched in the microwave, causing nostrils to flare, and occupants to flee the space! Whenever someone at the office burns popcorn, I do not have to go the breakroom to smell it. I can smell it in my office several doors down the hall. The same is true of a heart with a bad attitude. The stench spreads. So what are the root causes of a heart with a bad attitude?

  • Unconfessed sin
  • Unrepentant heart
  • Uncomfortable life
  • Unsettled mind
  • Unforgiving spirit
  • Unregenerate soul

To sum it up in just one single word, the root cause of a stinky heart with a bad attitude, is sin.

What turns a putrefying stench into Spirit-infused, warm and inviting sweetness?

A good indication that the attitude and aroma of your heart is not a sweet-smelling savor is to check your relationships. No one wants to hang out where it stinks, including God! So, first think about your relationship with God. Do you look forward to spending time with him? Are you eager to go to church? Do you worship him throughout the week? What are your prayers like? Do you spend time quietly listening for his still small voice or do they resemble more like asking a genie in a bottle to fulfill your every wish? Do you hunger for the things of God – or things of the world? Just as Adam and Eve hid from God in the Garden after they sinned, we tend to hide from God when the aroma of our heart is not where it should be.

Then look at the relationships you have with others. Are they filled with contention and quarreling? Have the people in you life seem to take a step back or avoid you? Are they able to count on you to speak words of kindness, life, and encouragement to them? Can they trust you with confidences? Do they describe you as Christ-like? Would they say that by being near you they felt the presence of Jesus?

The first step to changing your heart is giving it to Jesus

Galatians 5:16 says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” The very first step to changing a dead heart to a sweet-smelling aroma is to receive Christ as your Savior. This step cannot be missed, for without Jesus who cleanses us from all unrighteousness and gives the gift of eternal life, our heart remains dead in its sin. Only after we ask Jesus to save us does the Holy Spirit move in and take up residence with in and then we are able to walk in the Spirit. If we are walking in the Spirit, then He will reveal to us any dead, decaying “stinkyness” that is in our heart.

Attitude check!

Growing up, I would attend youth camp each summer and in one of those summers, a camp leader would shout out to everyone, “Attitude check!” Then all the kids would jump up out of their seats and respond by yelling back “Praise the Lord!” It is a good idea to periodically get alone with God and ask Him to do an attitude check of your heart by asking Him to reveal any bad or ungodly attitudes you may have. Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Once He reveals it (or any other sin), we must repent of sin, seek His help, hide God’s Word in our heart and spend daily time in God’s Word and in prayer, and forgive others for any wrongs they have done us.

As we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal stinky attitudes and we respond with humble repentance, our thought process will change, and so will our fellowship with God and others.

Who are “the least of these”?

Not only should the aroma of our heart be pleasing to God and the people with whom we have relationships with, but it should be pleasing to “the least of these.” But who are the “least of these” that Jesus was talking about in Matthew 25: 40? The “least of these” refers to those in a variety of needy situations. They include the hungry, thirsty, impoverished, sick, and imprisoned. In Matthew 25, Jesus connects service to the needy with eternal rewards and punishments. Extending charity to those in difficult situations indicates a heart with a right attitude. However, those whose lives are marked by apathy toward the needy show they have not been transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ.

God has always shown a special concern for the poor and needy (Psalm 35:10). So, it should come as no surprise that He expects His followers to do the same, especially toward those of the family of God (Galatians 6:10). What is surprising about the “least of these” is that our service is ultimately not to the poor, but to Christ Himself. Jesus says that when we are meeting their needs, it is just like we have done it to him. Likewise, if we refuse to meet their need, that also is just like doing so to Him.

Who are Jesus’ brethren?

But the next word, after “the least of these” is brethren. This calls us to question, who are Christ’s brothers? Did He mean the disciples? His half-brothers that Mary and Joseph had after Him? His earthly relatives? If we go over to Matthew 12:50, we find that “Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” His brethren are His followers who seek to do God’s will. Therefore, in the context of this verse, Jesus is speaking to those who are righteous; thus, the reference is to the righteous helping fellow disciples.

Certainly, we should also respond to the needs of the lost, for in doing so, we demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus and our acts of service towards them becomes a testimony of Jesus living within us. Likewise, refusing to help, when we are able to do so, gives a negative testimony, especially if the person in need knows that we profess to be a Christian.

So what does the aroma of your heart indicated about your attitude towards Jesus’ brethren? Are you angry with a Christian brother or sister? Are you jealous of them? Is there brother or sister in Christ that you belittle, make fun of, or put down? Or does the fruit of the Spirit reflect in your attitude towards Jesus’ brethren, regardless of who they are, what their needs are, and what their socioeconomic class is?

How we treat others shows the aroma of our hearts

We should treat His brethren with humble compassion as we recognize they too are His servants carrying out His will. How we treat them expresses our love for and commitment to Jesus Himself. But when we treat them harshly, it exposes our lack of devotion to Him. Jesus holds us accountable in how we live our lives. If we claim to live for Christ but our actions continually demonstrates differently, we need to examine the validity of our salvation.

With Christ living in us, we should be a reflection of His character and therefore spreading the fragrance of Christ wherever we go. Jesus treated others with love, kindness and grace – and so should we. When His character shows through our actions, we put Him on display to the world around us. Jesus commanded in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

We are known by our fruit

Jesus will be our final judge and there will come a day when we must stand before Him and give an account for how we lived our lives and how we reflected His glory to the world. Matthew 7:16-20 says, “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” Does your fruit stink from decay or is it a pleasing aroma from your heart?

We are the aroma of Christ

The bitternut tree does not bear fruit every year. It only bears fruit every three years and sometimes only every five years. The beech tree bears fruit every eight years. The white oak can go ten years without bearing fruit. But the champion in delay is the bamboo which bears fruit only every 120 years! Most Christians don’t live to be 120, but if they did, some would still bear no fruit for the Lord Jesus or the fruit they do bear is rotten and stinky.

If we want to be followers of Christ that bears fruit daily with a sweet-smelling savor, we must be like person the psalmist describes in Psalm 1:1-3:

“Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

When the final judgment comes, will Jesus recognize you by as one of His own by the fruits of your life? Will He see you as a healthy tree or a diseased tree? Are you planted by the river of Living Water? Will the aroma of your heart be pleasing to Him?

Ask yourself: Do I have a real walk with Christ? Do I love others? Does my faith live out in my actions toward others?

A Lesson from “Facing the Giants” Movie

Facing the Giants, Sony Pictures Movies & Shows (c) 2006 written and produced by Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick

Like it is so well said in this clip from “Facing the Giants” movie, our attitudes and our behavior reflects the condition of our hearts. A healthy tree will produce good fruit. When our heart is right, we will reflect the nature and character of Christ and the aroma of our hearts will be pleasing to God.

Identify the aroma of your heart, investigate the source of the essence, implement repentance, and revive your relationship with the Lord through prayer, confession, Bible reading, and praise to sweeten up, then go out and spread the fragrance of Christ wherever you go. Then the aroma of your heart will be a sweet-smelling savor to God.

#ReadYourBible #Leviticus #Matthew #aromaofyourheart #attitude #frangranceofChrist #sweetsmellingsavor

Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.

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