Prayer for Direction
“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.” 2 Corinthians 2:14
Paul knew that he was being criticized by the Corinthians for saying he was going one direction and ending up going another and this prayer was a way to let the Corinthians know that while he may make plans, he is following Jesus as to where he should go. The imagery he uses with triumphal procession would have brought the image in their mind of a conquering general in a triumphal parade. This would have been a common practice in those days. So Paul was making reference to them that Christ leads him as if he were his general and that he would change his plans based on the leading he felt from Christ. Oh that we would live that way more often. I know I make plans and then if I feel that those plans are changing I tend to cling all the more tightly to the plans I had made. I can look back over my life now to the plans I had changed for me because of circumstance or situations and I realize that many times I could have made the choice to change direction first and saved myself some grief if I had. I can say that as I have grown older I do hold my plans with more of an open hand than I used to and I pray that the Lord leads me in my plans for the future. Maybe it is an age thing, I don’t know but I do know that I have learned that if I make my plans loosely and pray for direction that it all seems to come out better than when I try to make a hard fast plan.
I also love the imagery here of the triumphal procession of Christ spreading the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. A triumphal parade in those days would have used incense as the parade marched through the streets. There would have been a sweet smell of incense in the air as the parade marched by. In much the same way as Christians we should leave a sweet fragrance of Christ wherever we go. We should be different. Our lives should have a sweet fragrance to whomever we come in contact with. Am I saying that everyone is going to like us or the fragrance we leave behind. Not hardly! And that is not what Paul says either.
“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?” 2 Corinthians 2:15-16
The point made in commentary was this.
“The scent of incense burnt in a Roman triumphal parade smelled wonderful to a Roman. The same aroma was a bad smell to a captive prisoner of war in the parade, who would soon be executed or sold into slavery.” David Guzik
In much the same way the message of Christ is life to some and condemnation to those who reject it or are running away from it. When we feel disdain or rejection or persecution from people, because of our faith, you can be sure they are not following Christ. They may be non-believers or believers who are living outside the will of God. Regardless we should live our lives in such a way that the fragrance of Christ is on us. If we are allowing Christ to lead us in our day to day lives and in our plans for the future, we will have a sweet smelling aroma of Christ on us. Some will like it and appreciate it and others will reject it. That part is not left up to us.
I pray that I always follow Christ’s lead in my day to day as well as in my plans for the future and I pray that I will leave a sweet aroma of Christ as I follow Him!