Christmas is no excuse for taking a spiritual vacation. We must constantly be on the lookout for rotten attitudes, subtle temptations, and secret sins which will hinder our relationship with God and others. In March of 1994 a German tourist checked into a hotel near Miami International Airport. That night in his room he noticed a foul odor. He didn’t mention it to the hotel’s front desk because he figured travelers must occasionally deal with discomfort.

When the tourist awoke the next morning, the odor was only worse. He reported the problem to the front desk as he checked out of the hotel. On Friday, March 11, a maid cleaning the room discovered the source of the odor. Beneath the bed she found a corpse.

Sometimes discomfort in life is nothing to worry about. But foul odors may be a sign of a bigger problem that shouldn’t be ignored. Every foul odor has a source. Once we find the
source, we will be better prepared to deal with it. If we find that the stench is in our own hearts, we shouldn’t just coast through life pretending it’s no problem. The festive smells of cinnamon, hot chocolate, and pecan pie can’t hide the odor. A broad smile won’t cover it up. It’s clear that something is wrong; until we take inventory of the problem, it will only get worse.

How does your life smell to others? Have you been taking a break from your Bible reading or prayer life? Have you been attempting to manipulate people and circumstances to your
advantage instead of trusting God with the outcome? Are you trying to see how close you can get to temptation without sinning? If your actions cause a foul odor, then you can be sure others will catch a whiff. Take inventory of the problem, and deal with it before it gets worse.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder