Four12 article image for 'No Durians' aabout remaining holy despite being disliked

No Durians

We recently had a two-night layover in Singapore. Boarding the train from the airport we saw a sign: ‘No Durians’. The only other things banned were smoking, flammable goods, and eating and drinking. I was intrigued. What was a Durian and why, of all things, should it not go on a train? As we continued to explore Singapore, we saw the sign frequently: ‘No Durians’. The picture on the sign looked like a horse chestnut, but when we finally found one in a market in China Town, we discovered a Durian is something much, much larger.

Durian Fruit

About rugby ball size, the Durian is called the king of fruit. It is said to have a flavour that combines garlic and mango, with hints of chocolate and a whiff of sulphur. The Durian, regarded as the national fruit of Singapore, is highly prized. This year one sold at auction for US$48,000. But it is loved and loathed in equal measure, mostly because of its smell. According to one website, ‘Durians have a strong, rank smell that … lingers long after the fruit has been removed.’ Earlier this year, the library at Canberra University was evacuated after people mistook the smell of a Durian for a gas leak. Hotels ban them because once a Durian has been in your room, the smell will linger for up to two days. This is why bringing them on public transport is also prohibited.

We are called to have a fragrance too, and our fragrance is also divisive.

If the Durian smelled only a little, no one would mind. Mangos smell, bananas smell, even apples and citrus smell. But none of these have been banned on the metro. Durian fruit doesn’t just smell, it reeks. A fragrance so strong and so divisive. That got me thinking. We are called to have a fragrance too, and our fragrance is also divisive. ‘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.’ (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 NIV)

The Aroma of Christ

First, we are the aroma of Christ to God. God loves when we smell of Jesus. God loves when whatever we do reflects the righteousness, love and compassion of His Son. He is our ‘audience of One’. Our primary frame of reference for whether we have succeeded or failed should not be ‘Did our friends like it?’ but ‘Did God like it?’ God is the master we serve. As the fruit of His Spirit works in us, we are changed into His likeness. His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control grow in us and flow from us. And so, to God, and all those who serve Him, we smell of Jesus. He is leaking from our every pore, it is a beautiful thing.

But second, we are also the aroma of Christ to those around us. Unlike God’s predictable affection for the aroma of Christ, the reaction of the world will be a mixed bag. To some, because of their openness to God, we will be a fragrance of life. They will love our lives and respond to our message. These are those we can lead to Jesus and who will respond to His offer of salvation. We can be excited that we enjoy such favour with them. To others, though, we will be a fragrance of death. They will judge us for being bigoted, closed-minded, religious, old fashioned. They have rejected God and so they reject us.

In other words, not everyone is going to like you!

Being Disliked for Being Holy

When we discover we are disliked, the natural reaction is to change. If our friends don’t like our biblical morality, we might be tempted to be quiet about it or change our position to accommodate them. If our family don’t like how regularly we are in church, how generously we give or how we serve our church family, we might be tempted to dial it back a notch. But this is not what God requires. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. When it comes to our doctrine, lifestyle and ministry, He expects the same from us.

If people accuse you of being closed-minded, remember we are called to open our minds to truth and close our minds to lies and let God be the judge of which is which. It was G.K. Chesterton who said, “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid. Otherwise, it could end up like a city sewer, rejecting nothing.”

When you are with those unsaved friends, do you rub off on them or do they rub off on you?

If you worry about how you will reach your unsaved friends while living set apart for the Lord, consider how you expect them to change if you are exactly like them? There needs to be in us an aroma different from the world. There needs to come from us a sweetness, pleasing to God. When you are with those unsaved friends, do you rub off on them or do they rub off on you? Do you compromise your holiness or do they compromise their sinfulness? Jesus hung out with sinners, prostitutes and tax collectors. He didn’t judge them but He didn’t join them. And many of them changed to be like Him.

We need to be the salt and light Jesus has called us to be.

If the World Hates You

Right now, in Singapore, if you’re a Durian, you’re not allowed to travel on public transport because of your fragrance. Increasingly today, those who speak out in support of Christian doctrine and morality are finding themselves censored and cancelled, edged out of the public square. People are getting in trouble for speaking the truth of Scripture on social media. Sports stars are losing contracts. Doctors are losing their jobs. The world doesn’t like the aroma of Christ. But don’t be disheartened.

Jesus said, ‘If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first. If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.’ (John 15:18,19)

It’s not by being like the world that we witness to His holiness and goodness. It’s not by being more like our friends or doing more of the things they do. Salt goes well on beef because it’s not beef. You notice it because it is different. We are called to be salt, to be different, and to be noticed for being different.

‘Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honourable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.’ (1 Peter 2:12)

Adam serves as an elder in Joshua Generation Church, South Africa. He is married to Vanessa, and they have two sons. Adam’s particular passions are worship and apologetics. Follow him on Facebook or Instagram for more.

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Cheating
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Righteousness
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Self-Righteousness
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Halloween
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Backsliding
Easter
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uncompromising
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Preaching
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Relationship with God
Faith and Works
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Creation
Reading
Worldviews
God's Love
Presence of God
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Overseers
Lying
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Ordained
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Refreshing
Defending The Gospel
Matrimony
Teenage Years
Four12 Church
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Ireland
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Church Health
False Teachers
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Tongues
Goats
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Pastoring
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Brotherly Love
Eternity
Community
Wives
Bishops
Shepherd
New Believer
Greed
Immaturity
Raising Kids
Parenting
Poor
Bible
Ordinance
Punishment
Being Hospitable
Sharing The Gospel
Restoration
Training Kids
Malawi
Leading Youth
Surrender
Testimonies
Christ
Delegating
Servant
Social Gospel
Character of God
Worth
Gift of Tongues
Godly Elders
Big Churches
Salvations
Sacrificial Love
Potential Leaders
Authority
Faithfulness
Holy Spirit Baptism
Patience
Teaching
Character of a Deacon
Grief
Compromise
Blueprint
Character
Addiction
Pornography
Signs
Christening
Starting A Church
Parents
Poverty
Study the Word
Stewarding
Hatred
Hospitable
Spreading The Gospel
Relationships
Training Children
Health
Youth Training
Counting the Cost
Healing Equip
books
Raising Leaders
Shepherds
Contentment
God's Character
Affirmation
Judaism
Enlightenment
Building Deep
Prostitution
Godly Team
Footholds
Baptism
Fear of God
Hospitality
Peace
The Bible
Church Leaders
Hardship
Fellowship
Holy Living
Character of an Elder
Adultery
Rebelling
Signs and Wonders
Baptise
Infant Baptism
Power
Possessions
Study the Bible
Steward
Retaliation
Lessons
Spreading The Word
Cheating
Training Teenagers
Cancer
Youth Ministry
Following the Call
Four12 Equip
Eldership Training
Community Leading
Pastors
Rest
Sacrificial Serving
Sonship
Jewish
Reason
Selling Out
Prostitutes
honour
favour
Devil's Schemes
Breaking Bread
Festivals
Idolatry
Prayer and Fasting
Theology
Foundations
Heaven
Fellowship of Believers
Leading Church
Diversity
Church Accountability
Rebellion
Witchcraft
Baby Christian
Kassie du Plessis
Protector
Tithing
Envy
Quiet Times
Promises
Loss
The Cross
Persecution
Unfaithfulness
Sacrifice
Brazil
Prophetic Training
Healing Conference
Identity
Small Group
Biblical Pattern
Systematic Theology
False Gospel
Testimony Apostolic
Jews
Reasoning
Watering Down
Reaching Out
Expectancy
Children
Forgiveness
Income
Prophetic
Tithes
Helper
Illness
Principles
Living for Christ
Government
Discipling
Sancti
Words of Knowledge
Babies
Prayer
Sexual Purity
Christmas
Jealousy
Meditation
Bible Study
Tests
Cross
Fear of Man
Find Forgiveness
Sacrificial Service
Brazil Churches
Prophetic Equip
Voice of God
Team
Home Group
Change
Servant Leadership
Apostolic Leaders
Authentic
Religions
Intellectual Pride
Ambition
Fruitfulness
God's Favour
The Church
Christian Character
Generosity
Jesus
Purity
Trust
Helps
Mortality
Christian Family Values
Lukewarm
Home Group Leaders
Exhort
Sanctification
Dominionism
Beliefs
Praying
Celibacy
Fathers
Comparison
Training
Honesty
Testing
Crucifixion
Conversion
Guilt
Sacrificial Giving
Church Merger
Equipping
Saints
Leadership Team
Priesthood
Jehovah's Witnesses
Women In Ministry
Fruit of the Spirit
Womens Ministry
Messiah
Mind Idolatry
Megachurch
Biblical Paradox
Honouring God
God's Manifold Wisdom
Christian Living
Gentleness
Joy
Repentance
Unity
Loving People
Infirmity
Family Values
Righteousness
Leading
Exhortation
Self-Righteousness
Kingdom of God
Commands
Provision
Sex Before Marriage
Mothering
Women in Leadership
Halloween
Christian Fellowship
Backsliding
Easter
Witnessing
Infidelity
Biblical Culture
Merging Churches
Prophetic Equipping
Gift of Prophecy
Apostle
Priesthood of All Believers
Finance
Servanthood
Biblical Church
Praise
Atheism
Church History
Living the Gospel
Paradoxes in the Bible
Honouring People
Church Leadership
Church Life
Giving
Kindness
Revival
Water Baptism
Servant Heart
Living for Jesus
Covenantal Relationships
Division
Accusation
Flesh
Sexual Sin
Scripture
Customs
Provider
Living for God
Mothers
Female Leaders
Calling
Christian Community
Backslidden
Resurrection
Testimony
Masturbation
Communal Culture
Partnering Churches
Prophesy
New Churches
Five Fold Gift
Trinity
Tithe
Relationship
Employment
Thanksgiving
Atheists
Old Testament Prophet
Ambassadors
Truth in Tension
contradictions
Treasure Hunting
treasure
Church Planting
Community Leaders
God the Father
Leaders
Salvation
Women
Afterlife
Protection
Dating
Decisions
Eldership
Fleshly Desires
Shame
Truth
Traditions
Works
Morality
Wisdom
Women Leaders
Ordaining Elders
Defence
Commitment
Hearing God
Consequences
Receive Forgiveness
Leadership Training
Living Hope
Zimbabwe
Start a Church
Prophet
New Believers
Being Generous
Study Scripture
Jobs
Entitlement
Misotheists
New Testament Prophet
Work Values
Deacons
Culture
Good News
Maturity
Self-Control
Word of Knowledge
Bitterness
Self-Pity
Courting
Forgiving
Anger
Freedom
Submission
Gifts of the Spirit
Get Baptised
Works and Faith
Morals
Gift of Wisdom
Females in Leadership
Ordaining
Repenting
Challenges
Listening
Caring for Children
Four12 Partners
Training Leaders
St Johns
Relief Fund
Building Church
Evangelist
Dreams
Communion
Being Accountable
Occupation
Rejection
Misotheism
The Case for Christ
Kingdom Priorities
Biblical Contradictions
Movement
Family
Devotion
Goodness
Men
Serving
Word of Wisdom
Brokenness
Sickness
Courtship
Friendship
Church Plant
Hope
Trusting
Gifts
Baptized
Fasting
Overcomer
Words of Wisdom
Leadership
Encounter

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