The Sweet Smell of Decay

Mowing the grass one summer evening, I’m gripped by the sweet, pungent smell wafting through the air. Pushing forward on the levers, I encourage my mower to move quicker toward the aroma. It’s captivating. The fragrant bouquet of pear, apple, and honey draws me to its source. Our Papple tree stands majestically behind my workshop; reaching nearly 25 feet into the air.

As I mow underneath the tree, I’m distracted by the sweet smell. With the blossoms replaced by fruit months ago, and knowing the fruit won’t ripen until the September-October timeframe, I’m puzzled. Nearing the tree’s north side, where its branches are thickest, the smell intensifies. Looking up from my seat, I find the source. A rare summer storm has broken a fruit-laden branch. Without the needed nourishment from the tree’s trunk, the branch and its fruit have withered and died.

Shutting down the mower, I walk to the workshop and retrieve my loppers. Cutting away the broken branch, I remove it from the tree and put it on my burn pile. I’m captivated by the intense, sweet smell of the browned and rotting fruit. I reach toward one of the still whole fruits and place it in my hand. With only a gentle squeeze, it liquefies in my hand. And while my hand now smells delightful, I can’t wait to wash the vile, disgusting, rotting material from them.

The Holy Spirit reminded me that Satan’s temptations always appear sweet, appealing, and pleasant to our human senses. Often, it is only after it has captured us we realize the truth. The enticing aroma of sin is DECAY.

How sweet can temptation smell; until you discover it’s rotting inside? Click To Tweet

Reflecting upon this experience, I thought back to the many times in my life when the sweet smell of temptation entrapped me. Oh how wonderful 30-year-old single malt scotch smells; and slides down my throat so smoothly. I know I shouldn’t, but the young lady smiling at me is captivatingly beautiful. I can’t help but steal glances longer than I should. If I take credit for the team’s effort, they’ll never know and it will enhance my career. How many of these thoughts have you had in your life? I think we all have. Our DNA is ingrained with the allure of temptation; it’s a part of what it means to be human and have a carnal human spirit.

In praying about these thoughts, God showed me how the sin isn’t having these thoughts; all humanity does. The sin is not exercising the spiritual gift of self-control and giving into the temptation. Each day, Satan bombards with temptations of all kinds. It seems he knows our weaknesses and can present just the thing that preys upon our vulnerability. The Apostle Paul gave us wise words when he wrote Ephesians 6:12.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12, NKJV)

Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that the battle with sin is not a worldly one. Click To Tweet

How do we strengthen our resolve? In what ways can we increase the effectiveness of our self-control? For me, the answer has been by not relying on self at all. Instead, I rely on the Holy Spirit to strengthen me to defend against the temptations that want to entice me into sin. My most effective tools in learning to strengthen and use the spiritual gift of self-control in my life are surrender and prayer.

I try to surrender control of my thoughts to the Holy Spirit each day. This allows Him to serve as an early warning sensor; to sound the alarm in my soul when temptation approaches. When, with His help, I identify the forthcoming opportunity to sin, I stop and silently pray for God’s strength to resist. I’ve failed too many times in my life to think I can resist on my own. My primary life verse has become Philippians 4:13; because I understand my only chance to survive the onslaught of worldly temptation is through His strength and not my own.

I pray the next time the sweet smell of decay beckons you, you recognize it for what it is. When you do, surrender to the Holy Spirit’s leading and pray for His strength to help you resist (James 4:7).

God’s blessings,

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38 thoughts on “The Sweet Smell of Decay

  1. Oh, yes, temptation may look and smell alluring and desirable, but that way leads only to death and decay, that’s for sure and certain, J. D. May we call on the Holy Spirit daily that we might not succumb to the temptations all around us, but live for God’s glory. Great analogy here, my friend!
    Blessings!

    1. Thank you Ms Ann. I’m pleased as punch that you enjoyed it ma’am. Ever had a papple before? They’re pretty good! 🙂 God’s blessings ma’am; and thank you so much for sharing my posts.

  2. Temptation will come. I pray that I will be alert and ready to deny temptation. I pray I will turn to God and follow Him, instead of my sinful wants. I am thankful for His love. On a side note, J.D., I didn’t know about Papple trees. Thank you for introducing me to a new tree. 🙂 Have a blessed week dear friend. 🙂

    1. You and me both Ms. Melissa. Every day I ask God’s help to make it through the day. He’s always faithful to be there for me. I wish I was as faithful in listening to Him sometimes. I hope you get to enjoy a Papple one day. I love their taste and texture. Thought it was an apple tree for two years before I discovered what it really was. Had never had an apple quite like that before. LOL 😀

  3. Excellent J.D. Thank you for reminding me again of sin’s decay. The joy we think we might receive when we yield to temptation is like the fruit’s vile rotting you were left with when you held the fruit severed from the tree. A great analogy! Thanks.

  4. What a powerful comparison to sin, J.D.! I can almost see the fluid dripping down your hand. Oh, I’m grateful His power is perfected in my weakness. I pray I will lean into Him today.

    Blessings to you, friend.

    Tammy

    1. Yes ma’am. Even the mental image of that gives me what my Italian-heritaged wife calls “the skeevies.” YUCK! And “Amen”; let His power be perfected in my weakness so the world can see Him through me.

  5. I love your analogy. The smell of sweetness can tempt us and how quickly we realize the rottenness inside. A great message to challenge the message of the world to “just do it.” And as you said, prayer will help us conquer our sinful nature.

    1. Amen Ms. Yvonne. Without prayer, I don’t think I could make it through a single day. How God preserved me until I finally surrendered to His plan for my life I will never understand.

  6. Wise, wise, wise. The sweet smell of temptation requires the strong power of the Holy Spirit. My ‘self’ has failed time and time again, but now that I rely on the Spirit I have a fighting chance against that tricky, enticing devil.

    1. Amen Coach; it sure does. And it seems Satan loves to keep putting that bitter taste back in our mouths so we can choke on our past and feel guilty all over again. The only good part about that is that unless you’re saved, you won’t be convicted by the Holy Spirit for your sin. That “aftertaste” reminds me that I belong to God. 😀

  7. Good spiritual lesson in your blog, as always. I had to google papple fruit. Did you plant that tree? Sounds delicious. Thanks for the good lesson.

    1. Thank you Ms. Linda. The tree was here when we arrived in Texas. It didn’t bear an fruit the first two years after we got here as it was nearly dead from the 2011 drought and little (if any care). With careful trimming, fertilization, and watering, it’s one of my most productive fruit trees. Will try and bring a few over for you. They make a wonderful papple pie (make it the same way you do a pear pie); and I’m certain Mr. Butch will love it! God’s blessings ma’am.

  8. Powerful analogy, J.D., as always. I can never rely on self that’s when my flesh most likely fails. Self does not yield self-control, that’s why Galatians names it as a fruit of the SPIRIT. And I’m so intrigued with this Papple tree!

  9. Great lesson from the Papple tree, JD. You hit the nail on the head regarding how Satan tempts us at our weakest points–that snake knows where to strike. May we not fall for his sweet-smelling lures that are full of rottenness. Amen!

    1. So glad you enjoyed my friend. The way that Satan seems to always know just what will be most enticing in the moment reminds us of how true Ephesians 6:12 is. We do not battle against human things of this world, but against spiritual things beyond this world that control much of it. Well said ma’am; thank you!

  10. Wow! What a reminder. “The Holy Spirit reminded me that Satan’s temptations always appear sweet, appealing, and pleasant to our human senses. Often, it is only after it has captured us we realize the truth. The enticing aroma of sin is DECAY.” Great job, J.D.

  11. Smell is the most powerful sense to trigger reminders in us of the past. Isn’t that interesting how the enemy uses even an invisible sense of smell to entice us? Great analogy, J. D. I read a book about someone who was allowed to have a short visit into hell and live to tell about it. I remember how vivid they described the putrid smells of hell. Glad I will never experience that!

    1. I seen enough “hell” in my life that I know it’s not a place I would wish on anyone. It saddens me when I look around and see so many folks doing their best to reach that very destination though. I pray that the coming tribulation will be enough of a glimpse to lead them back to God as part of the great revival that is coming. Like you, I’m ever-grateful that I won’t have to experience being separated from my Creator. Amen my friend.

  12. What a great analogy and oh how I can identify, but don’t tell anyone please. Our humanness really stinks sometimes, doesn’t it. What a wonderful God we serve– full of love, mercy, and kindness. He not only forgives us but empowers us to resist those enticing temptations. You’re reminding me of how grateful I am for His Word, His Spirit in me, and the wonderful privilege of prayer.
    God bless you, my friend and brother.

    1. Oh you can’t imagine how many times I said “Amen!” as I was reading your comments Ms. Connie. I’m sure glad to know I’m not alone in my struggle sometimes ma’am. God’s blessings; and let’s keep fighting the good fight as we strive to become more like Him.

  13. Another insightful glimpse into God’s truth, J.D. It’s a timely reminder of what happens when we’re cut off from the life-giving nourishment of His Word. It may not look like it right away, but death and decay begin the moment we cut ourselves off from the only source of real live available, and the rotten end result is inevitable. Thankfully, even sinners like me can be grafted in again. God bless you for utilizing the eyes He’s given you to see the messages He sends out every day, and for sharing them with the rest of us.

    1. Exactly my friend. We may break away from the vine, but God’s grace and mercy allows a way to be re-grafted so we might produce godly fruit again with our lives. Amen and amen! Thank you so much for adding to our conversation sir; such a blessing.

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