"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." (2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV) 
Early one spring a group from our church was going to meet at the church to go somewhere. It was one of the first beautiful, sunny, warm spring day so we waited outside for everyone to get there. All of a sudden there came an odor that smelled like someone had dumped some kitchen oil or grease in the yard that had turned rancid. Come to find out it was the aroma coming from the blooms on the Bradford Pear tree. These are trees that have a beautiful natural shape and are one of the first trees to bloom. The blooms look great but then you get a whiff of the aroma and it turns you off immediately.
A few weeks later it was Easter Sunday. The blooms were about all gone from the Bradford Pears but the church had ordered a number of Easter lilies which some people had placed around the sanctuary. When you entered it that Easter Sunday morning the aroma was heavenly. Our minister said everyone ought to go outside and then come back in again to enjoy the aroma again.
We who call ourselves Christians may look like a beautiful bloom. Others may know we go to church. We may tell others we are a Christian or that we go to church. We might carry a Bible around or have a Christian bumper sticker on our car. These things make us look like a bloom but what aroma are we giving off to those who really know us?
I know that no one is perfect and that we all sin from time to time but if we show the fruit of the spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. We will diffuse a sweet aroma like that of the Easter lilies which may draw people to Jesus Christ.
What if those around you continually hear you using bad language or telling dirty jokes? What if people see you continually doing personal work on the employer's time? What if you get your employees to do your personal work during your employer's time? What if people see you fly off the handle often or do many other things that are not part of the fruit of the spirit? These people may see you at first like a pretty bloom but when they see you doing these types of things they smell the aroma of a Bradford pear. If they are not Christians then they might think that there is no difference so why should they want to become a Christian?
The apostle Paul wrote: "Abstain from every form of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:22 NKJV)
That is what we need to do to draw others to Jesus Christ. We each need to be more like Easter lilies and less like Bradford pear blooms.
By Dean W. Masters
Unedited redistribution approved