A Sweet, Soothing Aroma
By Kay W. Camenisch
Our son once attended a men’s Bible study at a church he was considering joining. After several weeks, he dropped out and found a new church because the discussions were all focused on other people’s sin. No one was willing to be open about his own transgressions.
As Daniel shared his disappointment about the lack of transparency, I thought to myself, “How sad. How can God move if they aren’t being honest with themselves and each other?”
The Lord quickly showed me I was guilty too. He pointed out a time when someone asked me for counsel, and she hadn’t seemed to benefit from our talk. I hadn’t told her I’d struggled with the same problem; I felt like it would destroy my credibility. Suddenly, I wondered if she would have received more help if I’d shared my failures.
We like to look our best. If we share our shortcomings, we might ruin our reputation. We could be misunderstood, or rejected. If others knew our hidden sins, it could cause them to stumble. Instead of risking vulnerability and getting help, we put on a false front. We play a game of Chistianese with others, with ourselves—and even with God.
There are times we need to be discreet, but it’s never healthy to play games with the Lord. If we want to be more Christ-like, we need to confess our sins. He already knows our transgressions, but He likes for us to bring them to Him, being open and honest. God’s instructions for Old Testament sacrifices reveal God’s view of our confessions.
The Lord gave Moses specific instructions for how priests were to make peace and sin offerings. He said for the priest to kill an animal, and from the sacrifice “he shall present an offering by fire to the Lord, the fat that covers the entrails [bowels], and all the fat that is on the entrails, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, . . . and the lobe of the liver” (Lev. 3:3-4).
We try to give our best to God, but He clearly instructs Moses to sacrifice the worst parts of the animals. Why would the Lord want trash pieces—the kidneys, the liver, and the fat around the bowels? Why not the filet mignon and T-bones?
The kidneys and liver both filter toxins from the blood so they can be flushed from the body as waste. When poisons are too concentrated to filter out quickly, they are stored in the fat until a later day. The kidneys, liver, and fat are the body’s toxic waste disposal system.
After they cut out the parts that rid the body of poisons, “the priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar as food, an offering by fire for a soothing [sweet] aroma; all fat is the Lord’s. (Lev. 3:16). Likewise, all our sin is to be offered up to God. It is the Lord’s. It is a sweet, soothing aroma in His nostrils.
Hidden sins are toxic. If we hold back the fat, liver, or kidneys in an effort to hide our sins and give God only our best, the toxins will remain in our lives and contaminate us. They will harm our relationships with others as well as with God, leading to bitterness, murmuring, gossip, strife, divisions, and more.
God made provision for us to not be sickened by poisons. If we give them to Him, He‘ll flush our systems with Christ’s blood, washing us completely clean. Filet mignon and T-bone may seem better to us, but what brings the Lord the most joy is cleansing us of toxins that separate us from fellowship with Him.
In the days of Moses, the people had only one opportunity a year to be fully cleansed of their sins. However, because of Jesus’ blood we can be washed daily. We don’t have to let poisoned fat accumulate.
We can freely offer our toxins up to God. They are not offensive to Him. They are a sweet, soothing aroma, well-pleasing to the Lord.
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Kay W. Camenisch is the author of Uprooting Anger: Destroying the Monster Within. She has been published in The Upper Room and The Lookout. Contemporary Drama has published one of her plays, and she is a regular contributor to a newspaper column. Send Kay your comments.
Kay is also a pastor’s wife, mother, and grandmother. She has worked closely in ministry with her husband, including in local churches, as missionaries in Brazil, working with a church school, training young adults to mentor troubled youth, and establishing and directing a ranch for troubled young men. Visit Kay's Web Site
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