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I Smell Your Flesh

A woman had been sleeping next to her dead husband’s decomposed corpse for one year until authorities made the grisly discovery this week. —Cavan Sieczkowski

There are some things in life that just reek—and death is one of them. Most of us hold our breath in the presence of foul odors or do a 180 and hightail it away.

There’s a highway in Texas where skunks go to die. No joke. Shortly after I traded in my truck for a gas-friendly convertible, I was cruising down this highway with the top down. Then I hit Skunk Graveyard. Wow. Gag reflexes and the whole works. It was a nasty smell. If no one picks up the carcass for a couple of days, it’s even worse—it’s skunk smell and decay.

Good works done in the flesh bring death, decay, and stench—like a two-day-old dead skunk on the side of Highway 544.

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption… (Galatians 6:8 ESV)

But what do we do when the smell of death and decay comes from us?!

My wife and I were in a season of marriage when things felt a little off. It was driving me crazy and I just wanted to fix it. So I had this brilliant idea: I went back to the house one afternoon when I knew she would be gone, and I cleaned the house. I did the dishes, vacuumed, and tidied up. I was so excited when I heard the garage door because I knew this good work of mine would make it all better.

I was totally shocked when she looked at the house, then looked at me, and was angry. Later, she told me she could smell my flesh—my people-pleasing, quick-fixing flesh.

Some of us do good works in order to evoke specific responses from people. We want them to like us. We need their stamp of approval. So we work in our flesh—independent of God—to manipulate others’ opinions of us.

These kinds of good works are not the aroma of Christ but the aroma of the flesh—the aroma of death, decay, and corruption. They stink like a dead skunk on Highway 544.

Jesus, replace my flesh with Your Spirit. I want to get off this road, but I can’t do it. Please, Lord, steer me away from my flesh into a deeper, more dependent walk with You today. Amen.

Step away from the rigidness of religion and dance instead—listen to Pete’s audio series Dance Lessons!
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