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The Sniff Test

Five senses—to see, hear, taste, touch— and about this time of year the last reminds us that we are not alone.

A skunk smells. But what? Itself? Grubbs? Danger?

I recently read the words of someone who understood our human inclination to call out the wrongs of others—while giving ourselves a pass, a passing grade, or a get out of jail free card. Sensing the confusingly tiresome effect of endless disapproval and disagreement, this person said something like, “I’ve come to see the importance of the sniff test. Does it smell like Jesus? May sound a bit subjective. It is. But when we spend enough time around him it almost becomes natural.”

Too simplistic? If so, we can make it more complicated.  When the issue is whether we ourselves are approaching Christ-likeness, we could use all five senses to imagine what Jesus-like behavior looks like, what the tone of his Spirit sounds like; what the bread of his shared suffering tastes like, what the touch of his presence feels like; and what the fragrance of his love smells like.

But to keep it simple—who among us hasn’t been given the sense to smell the difference between a love that is patient, kind, and without envy… and “a love for goodness sake” that isn’t?

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141 Responses to “The Sniff Test”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Well that cinches it, Mart you do have continuity in your subjects. A smile and chuckle from me.

    There is a TV commercial on going out there about being “nose blind” to things around the house that stink.

    While the subject can be humorous, its serious side is that this is where the basis of non-Christians see Christians as hypocrites and why shouldn’t it be seen as such?

    Like any uniform one might wear, when one puts it on they represent what the uniform stands for.

    When we put on the “mantel” of Jesus Christ, our behavior not only represents us, but Him as a result of our “uniform” of saying we are a follower of Jesus.

    Non-Christians aren’t the only one that can smell a rat or that something is fishy.

    I am a little worried where we may go with this subject, but confession is as they say, good, for the soul.

    52 degrees and impending thunder storms.


  • remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    Driving along a country road, whether we see the creature or not, we know when a civet cat (skunk) has been there!

    So, likewise there is a whiff of a not-so-pleasant scent when sin rears its ugly head. I know when I have failed to be an encourager, a true friend or a faithful disciple of Jesus, I can smell myself. Ugh. Time for prayer, repentance, and asking forgiveness. As one preacher used to say, “Admit it, quit it and forget it.”

    Enjoyed the nature notes from all here. Living in the Redwood Forest for 19 years, I have bear stories, skunk stories, raccoon stories — and so on — even bobcat stories.
    Many a parable can come out of our encounters with our animal brothers and sisters!

    Am away at a conference this week-end, so time is at a premium. I prefer brief posts anyhow, don’t you?

    Perhaps if we understood how late in history is truly is, we would treat one another with more tenderness. We do perceive Kingdom things with the senses of the body of Christ, it seems to me. The sense by which we perceive Jesus is faith.

    I apologize all around for (usually) trying to stick to the topic of the original post. This may seem rude or heartless, but I hope to offer something worthwhile or interesting when I take up space on the blog. I do not mean to be a little stinker. :o)


    0C/32F in Seattle. Partly cloudy — with warming & rain forecast for later in the day.