Printer FriendlyAuthor: Eric Spitznagel / Illustration Exchange
Scripture: Isaiah 64:6
Source: “The grossest job in the world? ‘Sweat collector’ treats patients with rare body odor disease” By Eric Spitznagel, Published Men’s Health, Fox News, January 14, 2013
Topic: Sin Nature
Believe it or not, there are people who devote their entire lives to studying stinky, smelly things. Take Dr. George Preti, for example.
Preti has been studying odors for just under 40 years, primarily at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, which he joined in 1971. … Once, he spilled a flask filled with concentrated armpit extract, which shattered on the floor of his lab and covered Preti’s sneakers. He cleaned the mess and put his shoes in a plastic bag, thinking he had contained the odor.
“But it’s like when you work in a restaurant where they’re cooking something really pungent,” he says. “After you’ve been there for awhile, you don’t smell the odor anymore.”
Preti took the train home, getting more than a few dirty looks from his fellow commuters, and was picked up at the station by his wife. “As soon as I got in the car, she said, ‘You smell like a street person!’ She was just overwhelmed with the odor, and I couldn’t smell anything,” he says. Preti later calculated that he had spilled the equivalent of “about 600,000 people’s armpits” onto his sneakers and pants.
He learned a hard lesson: The power of body odor can’t be underestimated. And those sneakers? “I threw them out,” he says. “There’s no way I could’ve neutralized the smell.”
Did you know that the sin nature has an odor? Well, it does. The Bible tells us that even the good things we attempt to do, when motivated by fleshly pride, carries an odor–they are like the stench of filthy rags in the nostrils of God!
You know the smell: that old mop that you left sitting in dirty water too long; dish rag that you used to wipe the spelt milk off the counter that didn’t make it into today’s laundry; or that sweaty towel that you accidentally left in your gym bag.
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
When we walk in the flesh instead of the Spirit, we become like poor Dr. Petri who was so accustomed to the ambient odors in his lab, that he no longer even sensed their presence. It took the contorted faces, the pinched noses, and finally the confrontational words of his wife to alert him to how offensive he really was.
Don’t ignore the cues and cringes of others. Cleanse yourself in the grace of God–it’s the only thing that can neutralize the smell of carnality.
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