When my children were babies, they loved to hold lemons and oranges--As long as I zested a little bit of the skin off first.
Because an orange or a lemon is far more fragrant when a little bit of the skin has been grated away. It releases the wonderful scent of the fruit. My kids used to kick their little legs in delight of the wonderful smells. If I handed them an unzested fruit, they would quickly lose interest. But with a few swipes of the zester, I couldn't pry it out of their hands!
But it takes a rough encounter with the grater to remove some of the exterior and release what's inside.
We are the aroma of Christ. And isn't it amazing how the Holy Spirit in us is often more evident when our exteriors--the stuff of us--is sanded away by testing and trials? Our difficult circumstances buff away at us until our "us" is less evident and the aroma of Christ is undeniable.
And so we can rejoice in hardships. For though they grate away at us, we know the stuff of Christ is released.
Walk in the way of love,
just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up
as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.