“Does anything smell worse than a rotten potato????

Yes, a rotten pota+

to…… up REALLY close…was smelling bad!!! Carrying a net bag of potatoes to the sink, because one smelled rotten, I tripped on the kitchen island and my nose went INTO the rotten potato. I thought I was going to puke..didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as I tried to wash out the smell in my nose with baking soda and lemon juice. The thought occurred to me that maybe I had too much coffee today and then I thought nahhhhhh…. I must need more😂😜😳”

This was a post from a friend of mine.  Immediately, I had a God thought ….”There is a significant spiritual word picture here…”

In my mind, there is a huge spiritual significance… Our Christ-centered lives are like a sweet aroma to the Lord…2 Corinthians 2:15 says, “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.” In the Message version it reads: 

“2 Cor 14-16 In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.”

Some are repelled by our sweet fragrance of Christ that we carry…who?   Those who don’t follow God!!!?? We smell terrible to those people!! ??? “Those on the way to destruction TREAT us are like the stench from a rotting corpse.” Message version says. This is sad!  Hmmm …what will they do?   Curse us when we pray, belittle us because of our beliefs??…..NO, it will be worse than that!!!  They will run away in fear because they are faced with the truth of their inevitable death.

I know that when Jesus wanted to open Lazarus tomb after he had been dead 4 days, the people objected when he asked them to roll the stone away.  They had smelled “death” and it must be HORRIBLE enough to say “No” to Jesus. In truth, they run because the smell can be a source of disease. They might get sick from the smell.

What if our lives were a fragrance that attracted others to God. When we walk with God, we should leave behind a sweet fragrance that can inspire others to follow. We can be a reminder of Him to others.  But what does it mean that our fragrance can also be a death stench to those headed on the way to destruction?

Sacrifice is also a soothing aroma. Christ’s final sacrifice on the cross was also, the Word says, a soothing aroma, Eph 5 in the Message version says …

“5 1-2 Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.”


Another aspect of this analogy, in my opinion, is that, to God, sin is as stinky as a rotten potato… The closer you get to it the worse it stinks…. We can’t even get the smell out of our nose! Can you imagine how it smells to the Lord? God knows that our little sins have a powerful destructive force on us and our relationships with others and with Him. The sins we ignore and don’t ask forgiveness for cause death…. Romans 6:23a  “The wages of sin is death”   Death stinks…. it is sin that causes us to stink….to die….

“Sin is killing us physically, but more importantly, sin separates us from God spiritually. Sin hinders our prayers, breaks down our bodies, shatters our marriages, cripples congregations and hampers our happiness,”  says Letthebiblespeak.com, Brett Hickey. Jesus died on the cross. He was a willing sacrifice.  Sin is what affixed Jesus to the cross.  Each drop of blood was shed for the remission of sins. Sin is an abomination to the Lord!

Sin Stinks!  2 Sam 10:6 and Isa 65:5 talk about how the people are a stench in God’s nose and an acrid smell that never goes away. “The Holy Spirit also suggests this same idea in 2 Peter 2:20-22 by likening the Christian who goes back to sin as a dog that returns to his own vomit. and to a sow, having been washed, to her wallowing in the mire. Such is how sin smells to God. This is how God views my sin, your sin. Surely, we do not want God to make these kinds of associations with our lives.” says Brett Hickey, in sermon #755(73)

Ecclesiastes 10:1  says that dead flies in the apothecary cause the normally sweet aroma to now send forth a stink. It says, “Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.”  A little folly ruins a good reputation. 

Moreover, the rotten potato is in a bag with many other potatoes and as one potato begins to go rotten, it spreads its stink to the other potatoes very quickly… 

I’m wondering if you’re tracking yet… I know that I can find the most interesting analogies with things as weird as huge mushrooms and now stinky potatoes😂… how can stinky, rotten potatoes be related to sin and sinful behavior.

When we are grouped together with many different people we have to be on guard….watch to protect ourselves against the spread of sin.  How easy is it to become like the people that we hang out with?  It begins with becoming used to the odor because you are surrounded by it every day.

Back in the 1990’s, I worked at a preschool. As I would enter my classroom there was a significant, disgusting smell of dirty diapers. I asked the teacher “How in the world can you put up with this smell? “And she said “No problem, in a few weeks you’ll be used to it and you won’t smell it anymore… ” She was right.  My nose adapted to the stench.

It didn’t bother me anymore but as newcomers would enter the room they would always make a comment… “Ewwww it stinks in here!   How can you stand it!”

When you are surrounded by it … sin…for an extended amount of time it no longer seems so bad… You become desensitized to it. “We need to understand that not only can the worldly man no longer smell sin for the disgusting odor it gives off to God, but the people of God seem not to be able to differentiate it from any other smell. The word sin itself has largely vanished from our vocabularies unless we are in the house of God or reading it from the scriptures. This gratifies the devil.” says Brett Hickey. 

I found a blog concerning all the verses in the Bible that talk about this issue… I don’t need to “remake the wheel” as this researcher examined the Scriptures… 25 times it talks about the bad company…

One of the 25 examples is:

“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case, you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭5:9-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬


This is pretty clear… We cannot leave this world… We are in this world but not of this world


So how do we handle living in the world when we are not of the world? The Bible has some very clear answers about how to NOT hang out with bad company.


One of the examples“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:11-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬


I began thinking about what happens when I have a memory resurface because of a distinctive aroma. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through another channel.”


When I smell a chocolate chip cookie baking I have memories of my mother and I had talks in my kitchen during childhood. When I smell pumpkin bread baking I have memories of the 400 loaves of pumpkin bread I would bake on the weekend to sell at the craft shows… These are terrific memories! But when I smell a rotten, spoiled wash rag in the kitchen sink, for example, I can’t even bear to touch it to throw it away…

The Word of God is our roadmap for life… God in his wisdom lays out a plan, a path, to help us on our way… He guides and directs us!  

2 Cor 2:14-16

Eph 5:2

Phil 4:18

Rev 8:4

Ez 20:41

Eccl 7:29


What is God’s alternative plan to hanging out with bad company? Once again I will repeat …..

“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:1-2‬ ‭MSG‬‬



Be blessed and may you never have to deal with a rotten potato in your life!!😊

Carol Gravante

September 2, 2017, devotional