Since my last post I've been thinking about this verse quite a bit. What does it mean exactly to be the smell of death to those who are perishing?
For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.
~ 2 Corinthians 2:15-16
In the past I was very exuberant about my relationship with the Lord. To be honest, I was a bit pushy and annoying. Not at all Christ-like. At that time though I probably would have told you that if my beliefs annoyed you, it was because you did not have a relationship with God. I've learned the hard way though that being obnoxious is not what God has called us to, nor does it draw others to Him. Only His Love will do that and we can't show that Love to others when we are being annoying. We are only promoting ourselves and our own self-righteousness.
Looking back to the years before I came to know the Lord, I realize He was pursuing me the entire time. I think I experienced that smell of death during those years. I could talk the talk with many "religious" people and actually enjoyed doing so. But when I found myself in the company of true Christ-followers things changed. Those whose focus was on Jesus and letting His Glory and Love shine through them, rather than trying to prove their own righteousness put me on edge. It was nothing they did themselves, as they always treated me with nothing but love and respect, but I always felt like I was on the hot seat. Like they could see right through me to who I really was, to the person I did not even want to see.
I know now that they did not really have this "power", but the Holy Spirit who lived within them does have that power. It was His voice calling to me that made me so uncomfortable. His voice was the smell of death to me because I was not yet ready or willing to hear Him.
So, is that what this verse is speaking of? The fragrance that we give off is the Holy Spirit living within us who speaks to those we come in contact with?
I think those who are perishing are not necessarily those who don't know the Lord, but those who don't know Him and are not seeking Him. I believe the Spirit living within us is Life to those who have the same Spirit in them and Life to those who are truly seeking the Lord, though they may not yet know Him. He is only death to those who are still convinced that they are not in need of His Grace and Love.