Do They Smell Fear or Faith on You?

Alright, I think this is the last post on using our sense of smell to experience God, but I’ve been wrong before. When we check our scent, it is important consider if others smell fear or faith on us, because how we smell may be contagious.

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Can You Smell Fear?

For the last couple of weeks, we’ve talked about just how much we communicate through smell (Christ’s Victorious Aroma, Smelling Like a Christian, and not going Spiritually Noseblind). Though verbal and visual methods are our primary means of communication, the way we smell can transfer information to those around us, too.

Some studies even suggest at least one scent may be contagious? Fear.

Researchers took sweat from participants in scary situations and had a control group smell it (can you say grooossss?!). A statistically significant number of people identified the smell of fear because it produced similar emotions in their own bodies. If we, as supposedly victorious Christians, are living in fear, what message are we communicating to those close enough to smell us?

No Shortage of Fearsmell fear or faith

Pretending we’re not afraid isn’t the same as facing our fears with faith. And people can smell the difference. When we don’t act afraid in the face of our fears people will want to know why. This can be one of our best openings to share our faith with those around us. This world we live in has no shortage of trouble.

In the military community deployments can be great instigators of fear, but when I see spouses who face these tough times with joy and hope, I want to know why. Parenting is certainly filled with a lions share of fear, but those moms and dads who stand up to the challenge with courage and confidence make me want to know where they get their strength. It seems just being a woman these days conjures up heaps of fear, but those who walk through life with contentment and peace inspire me to figure out how they do it. When people face adversity of any kind and stand strong, I want to know more. I bet other people do, too.

Pretending we’re not afraid isn’t the same as facing our fears with faith. #smellfear #faithoverfear #experienceGod Click To Tweet

Maybe you’ve stopped using the word fear, but often our fears masquerade as more socially acceptable conditions like worry, concern, anxiety, nervousness, uneasiness, being prepared, dismay, stress, busy-ness….

Fear is Messy

During the Master Your Mess series, I discovered so many messes in life trace back to fear. And there are so many things we fear…

     failure

     not being enough

     not having enough

     being too much

     loving too much

     financial ruin

     rejection

     death, illness, injury (for ourselves or loved ones)

     loss of salvation

     loneliness

     change

     missing out

     being judged

This is a fairly general list, but if you’re like me you can come up with some pretty specific fears to add to it. Sometimes, we even fear God. Yes, the Bible says we should fear Him, but in a way that shows our reverence and respect for Him, not like we might fear a bully or a tornado. Yet many of us tend toward the latter.

smell fear or faith

Fear is From the Enemy

Every fear we have is an opening for Satan to come in and wreck havoc on our lives. Our fears feed him. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but he can’t do those things when we choose faith over fear. Our fears give Satan a foothold, but our faith frees us from his grip.

Our fears are clues to areas where we don’t trust God fully.

We can choose faith over fear because God is with us and He has overcome the world and all its struggles and hardships. That’s why learning to experience God in our every day lives is such a critical skill. We need that reminder of His constant presence with us to help us overcome our fears with faith.

Fears form when we divide our focus away from God. When storms arose out on the sea of Galilee, the Apostles were terrified of capsizing. They were looking at the storm instead of the One who could calm the waves. And Jesus chastised them for their lack of faith.

Our fears give Satan a foothold, but our faith frees us from his grip. #smellfear #faithoverfear #experienceGod #5senses #smellGod Click To Tweet

Faith is From the Father

Every fear we face tests our faith. When we trust God more than what we fear most, we can face anything with faith. The kind of faith that makes us hopeful, confident, content, joyful, and courageous (fruit of the Spirit anyone?) is more that just believing God is real, it is trusting Him to fulfill His promises.

Every fear we face tests our faith. When we trust God more than what we fear most, we can face anything w/ faith. The kind of faith that makes us hopeful, confident, content, joyful and courageous is more that just believing God is real,… Click To Tweet

So, today I want to share with you 10 verses that help me infuse my life with faith when fears arise.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous, Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

Coincidentally, this is my oldest son’s confirmation verse.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

Jeremiah 29:11

This is especially powerful when taken in the context of the Israelites circumstances. For more, check out this Facebook live video (no laughing at my face on the freeze frame, though).

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:6-7

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid,

but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Psalm 56:3-4

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 6:34

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

Find out what I learned from a bunny about bravely facing adversity in this Facebook live video.


“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39

“Be still and know that I am God;  I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth”

Psalm 46:10

“The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”

Proverbs 18:10

Smell FearClick the picture to download your own printable copy of these verses to post wherever you need a reminder to choose faith over fear. It will automatically go to your downloads.

Contagious Faith

When we as Christians go through trials of many kinds, just as Jesus said we would, how does the world perceive us? Do they see us actively engage our faith or run and hide in fear? Do we panic as the disciples did during the storm or rest in heavenly assurance as Jesus did?

Maybe, just maybe, if fear is contagious, faith might be, too! And, wouldn’t that be great! By facing down our fears with the faith God has given us we might just infuse those around us with a fresh look at how God takes care of His people. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I wonder what the fear fighting aroma of faith would go for?

By facing down our fears with the faith God has given us we might just infuse those around us with a fresh look at how God takes care of His people. #smellfear #smellGod #faithoverfear #experienceGod Click To Tweet

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Linking Up With

For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne EllerFaith On FireSusan B. MeadFaith Filled FridayGrace and TruthFaith and Fellowship FridaySoul SurvivalRah Rah Link UpTell His StorySitting Among FriendsTestimony TuesdayPlanting Roots, and Fresh Market FridaySalt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday, Moments of Hope

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Smell Fear or Faith

10 thoughts on “Do They Smell Fear or Faith on You?

  1. I know of a couple of stories, about this, one person obey the Holy Spirit and avoided danger, a little was deceived by a man with a sweet smell, intercessory prayer caused her to released, he was a killer and said she wasn’t a worthy sacrifice for his god, Jesus must have put the aroma of Christ on her.

  2. This is a great post with so many great insights. I think it’s true that our fear can be contagious but also that it can have a huge impact if others see us in situations where they might expect to see fear but we respond differently. I also like how you point out that our fears reveal areas where we are not fully trusting God.

  3. Such a rich post filled with so many things to consider as it relates to fear! Thank you! I especially love how you said, “The kind of faith that makes us hopeful, confident, content, joyful, and courageous (fruit of the Spirit anyone?) is more that just believing God is real, it is trusting Him to fulfill His promises.“

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