Recognizing the Fragrance of God

Through the Looking Glass

While serving in Korea during the Korean War, Pvt. James S. Bumgarner found himself being saved by, of all things, his nose.

Pvt. Bumgarner had a violent reaction when it came to the taste or smell of garlic. Even the slightest taste of garlic had the potential to send him into a state of nausea and vomiting. As it turned out, the North Koreans subsisted on a diet of fish heads, rice, and…

Garlic.

One night while standing guard, Pvt. Bumgarner got a faint whiff garlic coming from the direction of the enemy positions. Although it was dark, and he could not see the enemy, once he smelled them, his ears tuned into the surroundings, and he began to hear them as well. He alerted his men that there was an enemy on the other side of the rise in front of them. As it turned out, it was, in fact, an enemy patrol headed straight toward their position. Bumgarner and his men were prepared when the enemy showed up, and stopped them in their tracks.

As Christians, we should be so in-tune with the “fragrance of God” that we can instantly recognize the repulsive scent of anything that tries to pass itself off as “Godly”. We should have His word so ingrained in us that anything but the truth is instantly recognized and rejected as the deceitful counterfeit that it is. The Psalmist said…

I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You. ~ Psalm 119:11

They say when people who handle money are trained to recognize phony money, they do not spend their time examining counterfeits… the study the real thing. They learn what real currency looks like, and study it to the point that, when faced with a counterfeit, they instantly recognize it. As followers of Christ, we should be able to instantly recognize anything that is not of Him.

Pvt. Bumgarner’s hyper-sensitive nose saved the lives of he and his men that night. His ability to smell trouble coming helped keep him alive through the war, and brought him home to a successful civilian career, living to the ripe old age of 86.

While his fellow soldiers knew him as Pvt. Bumgarner, for the rest of us, he had several aliases… Brett Maverick, Jason McCullough, and Jim Rockford.

James Scott Bumgarner — aka — James Garner.

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