In the last two weeks I have been in four different airports, a recording studio, a television studio, on vacation with my husband and at three different speaking venues. My life is a walk in the park compared to what many of you do, but for me, this schedule was quite a stretch. I also teach voice lessons and recently, I had the privilege of flying to Nashville with one of my students after being hired to work with her in the studio.   

Now, in case you have not flown lately, an elaborate meal is no longer served aboard the airlines.  On the flight to Nashville, I thought I was getting special treatment when I received a turkey sandwich, carrots and some cookies. As I began eating the sandwich, I remembered that I didn't have car once I got to Nashville.  The young lady I was with had rented her car, so I would be in Nashville with no wheels of my own. I had never stayed in the hotel where we would be staying, so I was unsure about restaurants near the hotel.  Suddenly realizing this could be my last meal of the day if there were no restaurants within walking distance of my hotel, I asked the stewardess for another sandwich. She politely obliged. I tucked the turkey sandwich neatly in the outside pocket of my purse and prepared for landing. Fortunately, there was a Panera Bread across from my hotel, and I had a lovely time in Nashville. 

Several weeks later, I sat in a restaurant with my husband David when suddenly a very foul smell came from my waiter. As the waiter stood close to me, all I could think was, "Bless his heart. Has anyone told him he has this problem?" 

Upon leaving the restaurant, we also left the smell... or so I thought. The next morning when I opened my closet, the smell almost knocked me over. I tore my closet apart looking for anything I could find. Nothing. Suddenly, I began to get a complex.  The smell was not coming from the waiter last evening, it was coming from me!  I asked my husband, "Do I stink?"  With a puzzled look on his face he replied, "I don't THINK so."    

Later that day I got in my car to drive to a luncheon, and the smell was with me again.  It had to be me. I considered a doctor visit after my meeting because obviously something was terribly wrong. 

Upon arriving at the luncheon, one of my friends wanted to hug me. Somewhat tentative, I hugged her then quickly looked at her face for any signs of disapproval. I didn't see any, but she was also in full-time ministry so I assumed she had been trained for moments like these.   

As we sat at our table, all I could think about was the "stink!" We finally finished our luncheon, and it was time to pay the bill. I reached into the outside pocket of my purse to retrieve my cash when I suddenly hit something "squishy" at the bottom. As I pulled my hand from the pocket, I thought I would pass out from the smell.  The sandwich! For three weeks I had carried that turkey sandwich in hot cars, airplanes and hotels without realizing it. Relieved that it was not me, I thrust my hand into the air and screamed, "It's not me!" 

My luncheon guest smiled a very curious smile, so I told her the story. After laughing until our sides hurt, I pulled the sandwich from my purse. Unrecognizable at this point, the waitress quickly picked it up and discarded it. My purse went to be with Jesus and from now on, I will take my chances on finding food to eat when I am out of town! 

Have you ever had something that "stinks" in your life? Sin causes our lives to smell. Just as I needed to take the time to clean my purse, as Christians, we must take the time to clean out our lives. When we begin to walk in disobedience to God's Word, our lives begin to smell. Unfortunately, we often try to cover the sin instead of address it. This only makes us smell worse. 

Take your refrigerator for example. If something inside the refrigerator smells, you can open a box of baking soda or just slam the refrigerator door shut. The problem? The smell will still be there the next time you open the refrigerator. It will most likely smell worse. Why? Because you have not removed the source of the smell. 

When sin causes our lives to "stink," we have to remove the source of the smell. Although sin separates us from our Heavenly Father, God is not out to beat us over the head by convicting us of sin. He exposes the "smell" of sin in our lives because He wants nothing to stand between us and Him.  

So how do we get rid of the "stink?" Simple. We believe in the power of the cross, and then we ask God to forgive us and turn away from the source of the smell. We get rid of whatever is causing our lives to stink, and we don't put it back in our lives. If it creeps back in, it is because we have left an opening for it to return. 1 John 1:9-10 says, "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 

Jesus was well-acquainted with the stench of sin and paid the ultimate sacrifice to wipe sin from our lives.  With every lash and every foul word that came from the soldiers who nailed Him to the cross, His nostrils were filled with the horrifying aroma of the devastation of sin. The smell was just as great for the "little" sins as it was for the "big" sins. It all stunk to Him. That is why He intervened. He knew there was nothing we could do in our own power to cross the threshold of garbage into the presence of God, so He paid the ultimate price. His blood and death on the cross covered the stench of every sin we can fathom. His resurrection gives the fresh smell of new life to all who will believe. 

If you are discouraged by a sin in your life that seems to linger, begin anew this Easter. Jesus knows the smell of sin and hated it so much, He died just for you. He knew you would struggle, and that the foul smell of sin would attempt to overwhelm you. The powerful news of Easter is that He rose again so you could know the fresh aroma of beginning again. Give Jesus access to all the hidden places in your life this coming Easter and experience a "scent" that can never be bought. It is a gift and it was given over two thousand years ago marked with your name.

Shannon Perry is a speaker/singer/writer/radio host whose new If The Shoe Fits women's conferences combine her teaching prowess with her musical talent.  Perry's new music CD entitled The Real Thing (produced by Lifeway writer/producer Paul Marino) features songs specifically written to fit in with the theme of the conferences.  Perry earned her Master's Degree in Education with an emphasis in counseling and taught in the public school system for over fourteen years before entering into full-time ministry.  She has performed with the Houston Symphony, appeared at Carnegie Hall, and recently sang before 70,000 at a NFL home game for the Houston Texans.  Shannon has just released her first book entitled Grace in High Heels: Real-life reflections of humor, hope and healing. For more information, visit www.ShannonPerry.com