Daniel 12:1–3 ESV. “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
Imagine you are walking through a dark forest. There are creatures of the darkness all around you, slavering in anticipation of the meal you represent. But none attacks. Instead, they retreat as you move forward. They wrinkle their noses in disgust at the smell of you, though you just took a shower and have on some nice deodorant. The creatures wince and hide their eyes from some unseen pain as you pass by, as if they are looking at the sun, though you see only darkness.
Children of God actually shine in a way that is painful to the hateful eyes of the deceiver’s creatures. We can’t see this light with our own eyes; we still need flashlights to light the way in our houses at night. This light manifests itself to those in darkness and they hate us because of it. There’s a smell around us too, sharply repugnant to the noses of the creatures, because it is the aroma of Christ and life. It reminds them they are destined to die a second death in the lake of fire.
2 Corinthians 2:14–16 ESV. “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
We wonder sometimes why we suffer. In our jobs we might be unfairly attacked and pressured to quit, and it seems to us as if there’s no rationale. At school there are few (too few) that are friendly and many who avoid us and spread gossip about us behind our backs. In the line at the grocery store we experience hostile stares. Even at church we might be marginalized or outright asked to leave. We can’t see the reasons. But they are offended by our mere presence because our internal light hurts their eyes and the smell of life around us is worse to them than an open cesspool or Limburger cheese on a hot muffler.
As we head into the trials and turmoil prophesied in the Bible, we are marked by God more obviously and surely than a tattoo on the head or hand. Our Messiah is with us, and no creature of darkness can stand against us. They might get us fired from a job or kicked out of church; they might even kill the body in which we are temporarily resident. However, to those who are being saved we are a fragrance of life and light in the darkness of the world. Remember that you are a child of God and a friend to Yeshua, and the salvation you have will be shared with many who turn to righteousness because of His light and aroma.