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Il Profumo di Cristo

I listened with interest yesterday as an Italian man shared with me his salvation testimony. He spoke for about thirty minutes recalling his spiritual awaking and the sobering moment when he realized that he had been blind in proclaiming his own goodness outside of Christ. There were many aspects of his story I found fascinating but one phrase he used in particular struck me and so I asked him to repeat it. In describing a friend that had preached the gospel to him for two years, he said that he had “il profumo di Cristo” – the fragrance of Christ.

This Italian brother said that there was an intangible essence to this Christian witness, something beyond his words, that made him different. If you imagine the Old Testament priest that burnt sweet incense before the Lord or Mary of Bethany that anointed the feet of Jesus and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment, in both instances these individuals would be perfumed as ones that had been in the presence of God. Whether it was at the temple or in their homes or to the market or the streets of the city, their presence would have been sensed long before they could be seen. This illustration fails for our purpose in that both the priest and Mary offered something to the Lord and thus carried around the scent of their offering; what we must realize is that when we live our lives in the presence of Christ we will carry His fragrance with us everywhere we go. It’s not what we present to Him but rather what we gain from being in His presence.

When people see and sense the loveliness of the Lord Jesus Christ in His people, they will be attracted to Him. I pray that daily we would live our lives in the presence of our Saviour, and as we come into contact with people in Italy they will sense “il profumo di Cristo”, the fragrance of Christ.

“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish” 2 Corinthians 2:15

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