Men's Weekly Spiritual Challenge

Leaders Use the Smell Test

Posted by Dean Gage

I Thessalonians 5:21-22 “But test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” 

Over my many years of leadership, I have often had to use the so-called “smell test” to determine the truth and to make the right decision. This holds true in every walk of life and particularly at home, work, church, and community. Smell is one of our five senses and is often the first to determine how our other senses will come into play. If something smells bad, we will not want to touch, see, hear, or taste it. My wife and I were walking earlier this week in our rural subdivision and smelled a skunk. We immediately ran to the other side of the road and hastened our walk away. We did not want to get sprayed by this enemy with a stained smell that is hard to remove. Is this not what we should do as leaders when something smells wrong to us according to God’s Word and the Holy Spirit? When I served as President of TAMU, we were often faced with major decisions or an issue that required wisdom and discernment. We always asked this question, “Does it pass the smell test?”

 “Leaders Use the Smell Test”

I Thessalonians 5:21-22

Spiritual leaders should use the “smell test” in all they do. I believe that is what Paul was telling the Thessalonians in our Scripture this week. We are to “test everything, hold fast what is good and abstain from every form of evil.” Just how does a leader do this and use the smell test? He examines everything in light of God’s Word and is obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is how he will recognize what is evil and wrong and run away from it like running away from a skunk. The enemy is truly a skunk, a deceiving skunk, and has a smell that is rotten and hard to get rid of. As a leader, you should know that it is easier to not get sprayed than to have to remove the smell. However, Jesus can remove any stain or smell of sin and make us clean. I find it interesting that we can remove the stain of a skunk with red tomato juice and Jesus removes the stain of sin by his red blood. If you get sprayed by a skunk, you run the risk of getting those you lead sprayed by the same skunk. Even the smell on you can rub off on them. My wife has a rule in the kitchen about food that smells bad. “When in doubt, throw it out!”  If something doesn’t pass the “smell test” in your life, abstain from it, don’t eat it, and throw it out. That’s what a spiritual leader does.