Build An Ark: Cultivating a Fragrant Worship

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Cultivating a Fragrant Worship

I must have sung it a thousand times, “Lord, let my worship be pleasing to You, let it be as a sweet fragrance rising before Your throne!”

This is an excellent prayer to sing. And I believe it is a wonderful desire to have our personal and corporate worship ascend before God as a sweet fragrance. To bring Him pleasure is a desire of every lover of Jesus.

But this doesn’t happen just because we sing it. Our worship is not fragrant to Him because we offer the right song at the right time. It is not fragrant because of a creative melody or meaningful lyrics. It's not fragrant because it is so beautifully and skillfully expressed. All of these things are good, but it’s what’s in our hearts that makes our worship a sweet fragrance to the King of Kings. He looks upon the heart of the worshiper. Just as it takes much work to cultivate a garden so it produces flowers and fruits that give off a beautiful fragrance. So it takes cultivating the garden of our hearts in order to offer a fragrant worship that is pleasing to the Father.

Here are some ways in which we can cultivate the kind of heart that produces a fragrant worship.

Get Rid of the Stuff that Stinks!
Stuff like sinful habits, self will, humanistic philosophies all have an offensive odor to God, in other words, they stink! The good news is that the Lord has made a way for us to overcome anything we have in our lives like this. The Lord will progressively cause us to be overcomers in every area of our lives as long as we are willing to follow Him.

2 Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

We can’t cover up the smelly stuff and expect our worship to bea fragrant aroma to the Lord. That would be like trying to cover up your body odor with cologne. You may be able to fool most people, but try to get intimate with your spouse and all of the sudden you’ve got to deal with it! You’ve got to get clean before you go any further. The Lord is not surprised with the stuff in our lives that stinks, He just wants us to overcome it. As we do, the fragrance of Jesus will be present in the areas that we gain victory. This is pleasing to the Father.

Persevere with Patience!
Though I would like it to be, it can’t always be summer. It takes all the seasons to produce a fragrant garden. In the same way, it takes us embracing all the workings of the Lord for us to grow fragrant in our worship.

Song of Solomon 4:16 “Awake, O north wind, And come, wind of the south; make my garden breathe out fragrance, let its spices be wafted abroad. May my beloved come into his garden And eat its choice fruits!"

The north wind speaks of the uncomfortable things the Lord brings into our lives. At first it is difficult to see the purpose of God in these things. But after we have been through many of these ‘north wind’ times with the Lord, we see how they are part of what produces the fragrant fruit of the Holy Spirit. We can actually come to the place where we are thankful for the north wind just as much as the warm, refreshing south wind.

James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

It is a beautiful fragrance to the Lord when we walk through each trial with patience. If we are wronged, we forgive, if we are reviled, we bless and in everything we begin to bring forth the fragrance of Jesus. This is pleasing to the Father.

Be a Love Offering!
The Lord doesn’t force us to give anything to Him, especially our worship. He is looking for those who, out of love for Him, freely offer themselves to Him. This kind of love offering pleases the Father.

Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.”

This is the way Jesus showed us. His whole life was a fragrant aroma to the Father. We can begin to have the fragrance of Jesus in our worship when we walk as Jesus did.

Ephesians 5:2 “And walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

Imagine the joy of the Father when He begins smell, ever so faintly at first, that same fragrance that rose from the earth when His Son walked here. I can just see Him standing up in the heavenlies, breathing in deeply, saying, yes, that’s it, that’s the fragrance of My Beloved Son. To the Father this is the most precious fragrance in all of creation. I can see Him smile as He looks down with pleasure upon one of His worshipers whose song is rising up to His throne. Hey look, that worshiper is you!