Taste, Smell and Spiritual Sense

“It has no taste,” I told my husband last summer, disappointed the meat on my plate was not cooked right. But once the words came out, I recognized them as significant. My sense of taste and smell had vanished. This happened to a lot of people in the last couple of years. 

My grandkids on the other hand, seem to know exactly what they will like and what they will not just by the look of things. Their taste buds and acute smell can sniff out whatever is suspicious before it even gets close to their mouths. 

“I no like that,” is a first response. 

Paul the Apostle was confronted by a smorgasbord of religions. As he strolled the walkways of Athens, the cacophony of ignorant talk disturbed him.  Current ideas spawned from scholars and philosophers, natives and foreigners. New thought privy of any belief in God, swirled. A profusion of idols lined the hill indicating inclusion to every whiff of crazy talk.  

“For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.” Acts 17:21 NKJV

It wasted their time and bunny-trailed them into irrational beliefs. They tasted a bit of this and that, allowing an open-minded, open-mouthed lack of discernment to thrive. 

The Athenians bathed themselves in senseless spiritual ignorance. 

Not unlike our own culture. 

Such blatant idolatry and unhinged human reasoning troubled Paul’s spirit. But, the people of Athens didn’t know their spiritual senses were off until Paul told them. They didn’t realize their lack of truth-awareness, and so their appetites could not be satisfied. 

They considered themselves intellectual, enlightened and open-minded when in fact pagan influence had removed a sense of right and wrong. Their thinking, so influenced by the plague of sin, was dulled by foolishness. Like the loss of taste and smell to the senses.   

“Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you.” Acts. 17:22-23 NKJV

And in a sermon led and directed by the Spirit, Paul preached the good news of Jesus and His resurrection. He could not remain silent. The aroma of death was replaced by truth. It defused through bland existentialism, tickling some appetites till they begged for more, but disturbing others.

The past few years have been full of losses. Some were less significant, like taste and smell, but others leave deep sorrow which cannot be easily erased. 

You may wonder, as the world goes on with its lack of true spiritual hunger or awareness, where is the movement of God in the hearts of people? Why do so few truly search for eternal answers? Does your inner being, like Paul’s, feel the turmoil of society’s spiritual void? 

One thing my grandson’s fickleness and my own experience with COVID teaches me is that tasteless food diminishes appetite.  

Paul put before the Athenians the good news of Jesus Christ. Eternity without Christ mattered. Lost people moved him to action. He knew what they needed. He understood their senseless dilemma. He could not remain silent even though it cost him. 

Paul preached Jesus’ death and resurrection, and boldly confronted them with their need for repentance. Christianity’s claims were earth shattering and yes, even divisive. Bold truth heightens spiritual awareness, yet sometimes a tasteless smorgasbord seems more appealing.  

How is your spiritual appetite? Do you have a sharp sense of the sweetness of Jesus? Does His fragrance surround you? 

the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.“ 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 NKJV

The aroma of Christ through us, stimulates an appetite within which can only be satisfied by His presence. We carry His contrasting aroma into a smorgasbord of tasteless spiritual drivel the world proclaims. We bring an invitation to taste what Jesus offers. 

“Taste and see,” David invites in Psalm 34:8. After severe testing, when his physical life was on the line, he found God satisfied when nothing else could. 

God’s Word fuels an appetite for God.  

My taste and smell are back to where they were. Food has flavor again. Flowers smell good once more. 

“Enzo, it’s good,” I say to my grandson. I mean how can a child not like pizza? I peel off a piece of pepperoni and make a deal with him. Bargaining is on the table. Literally. 

He pulls back, then accepts the offer. He chews and his eyes light up. 

“Is it good?” I ask. 

“Yeth,” he nods like his head is following a rock band. He reaches for another round slice. His tastebuds are awakened. 


*feature photo by Philip Schroeder – Istanbul, Turkey

6 Replies

  1. Jeannie Waters Reply

    Sylvia, your post created a hunger in me to draw even closer. You summarized the purpose of “taste and see” well: “ The aroma of Christ through us, stimulates an appetite within which can only be satisfied by His presence. We carry His contrasting aroma into a smorgasbord of tasteless spiritual drivel the world proclaims.” I want to continually draw near and allow the aroma of Christ to permeate the world around me. Thank you.

    • sylvia schroeder Reply

      You are so right Jeannie, The aroma of Christ, its contrast and appeal comes through His presence. May it penetrate the the world around! Thanks so much for reading and responding.

  2. John Buchanan Reply

    What an excellent and appropriate post.
    Thank you so much, that was so meaningful.The Lord bless you.

  3. Katherine Pasour Reply

    I love your metaphor, “The aroma of Christ through us.” If we’ve accepted Him, we know Jesus lives within us, but thinking of Him as a sweet, enticing aroma is pleasing. Thank you for that image. Oh, to be bold like Paul in sharing the love and Gospel of Jesus! I’m still praying for boldness.

    • sylvia schroeder Reply

      It is my prayer as well. I want to be ready, bold and gracious. Thanks Katherine!

  4. Annie Yorty Reply

    Sylvia, what a wonderful insight you’ve highlighted. Don’t they say that smell and taste are the first parts of the digestive system? I’d like the aroma of Christ in me to cause souls to water for Jesus so they would be enticed to taste and see for themselves.