How do you smell? You can check. Sniff your armpits, or maybe your breath. Don’t be embarrassed.
When you go to work, school, or most anywhere, my guess is that most of you get ready in the morning by showering, putting on deodorant, perhaps cologne or perfume, and maybe brushing your teeth or having a mint to offset your coffee breath. I have been informed by certain family members that I have horrible coffee breath. So I typical grab a mint before I head out the door
In the summer after my junior year of college, I did a missionary internship in Guyana, South America for 13 weeks. While I was there, I read an article about how damaging antiperspirant deodorant can be to the body, because our bodies, and especially our armpits, were designed to sweat. Antiperspirants put unhealthy chemicals on our bodies to stop them from doing what they are supposed to do. Which is why I wear a t-shirt under my regular shirt every Sunday when I preach, but even that isn’t enough to block the sweat.
But after reading that article, and learning that in the Guyanese culture, deodorant wasn’t commonly applied, I just stopped using it altogether. What the Guyanese did instead was wear perfume and cologne. After a few weeks of no deodorant, I didn’t notice my smell anymore. The summer went by, and I flew home to JFK in New York City where my parents and Michelle picked me up. Michelle and I had been dating for about two years at that point, and being apart for 13 weeks was pretty much the make or break it for our relationship. Obviously, we made it. But Michelle points out that her reintroduction to me at the airport was smelly because of my BO. Body odor.
I had gotten so used to not wearing deodorant, I didn’t think about how it would matter to my American family and girlfriend. Not to mention that when you fly, especially the long flight from Guyana which included a stopover in the Caribbean and then a final leg to JFK, even people wearing deodorant might not be smelling the greatest. I was smelling raunchy, and when she pointed that fact out to me, I revealed to hear that I was not wearing deodorant anymore. Guess how long that lasted?
What I was happy to discover is that the people who make deodorant make plenty of versions without antiperspirant chemicals. And that is what I have used ever since.
How do you smell to the people in your community? While regular showers, deodorant, mouth wash, and brushing teeth are very important, I’m talking about a different smell.
On the blog for the past month, we have been talking about relationships, from our relationship with God, our family, then church family, and now to our relationship with the community. We’re also connecting this blog series on relationships with the previous series on the Fruit of the Spirit. As we walk in step with the Spirit, we allow the Spirit to grow his fruit in our lives.
What is the Fruit of the Spirit? It is nine qualities of attitude and action which primarily apply to our relationships. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Gentleness, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, and Self-control. We’ve talked about how the more we have those qualities of the Spirit growing in our lives and flowing out of our lives into our many relationships, the more healthy relationships we will have. Imagine a world where more and more relationships are governed by the Fruit of the Spirit!
I’ve asked you to consider how the Fruit of the Spirit could impact your family relationships and your church family relationships. Now this week, we want to see what Scripture has to say about our relationships with people in our community.
For starters, we need to answer the question: who are the people in our community? Interestingly enough, someone once asked Jesus a variation of that question. We find out how Jesus answers that question in the next post.