My wife and I just flew up to San Francisco (SF) for the weekend from Los Angeles. We love to do short weekend trips and hadn’t been to SF in two years, so our cousin's wedding was a great excuse for a quick trip and we were very excited. We love all the good food, sights, shopping, and fun things to do.

 While we usually try to focus on the good, one thing seemed to overwhelm us on this trip, the smell. We were staying right off Market St., two blocks from Union Square in a nice hotel. However, it seemed as soon as we left the hotel, almost everywhere we went smelled horribly, a mixture of urine, and a foul stench in general. This smell seemed inescapable on all the major streets, even outside the most expensive shops and restaurants alike.

I thought back to our prior trip two years before and was trying to remember if this was normal. I recalled waiting in line for about an hour to eat breakfast at one of the most popular spots in town. The line of people wrapped around the outside of the building and I remembered the smell was so horrible I couldn’t believe anyone could wait in such a line to eat. The smell had also attracted several flies. While flies buzzed around the people, so did the homeless on their mobile carts who were drunk, doing drugs in the streets and talking to demons (what the world calls schizophrenic).

Even inside the restaurant, once we received our food, flies flew back and forth over our heads and meals while no one else seemed to notice.

 This all brought to mind the many scriptures of the bible regarding smell where the good things of the bible are compared to a beautiful fragrance but the wicked acts, a stench in the nostrils of God.

“Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.” Ecclesiastes 10:1

“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2 ESV

Recalling all of this, I thought here is one of the most expensive cities in the world and despite having traveled to hundreds of locations all over, it probably smells worse here than any other major city I have been to. How is it that they cannot clean the streets or spray them down with water? With a quick search online I found out that the urine smell is such a problem that judges actually made it legal to urinate on the streets of San Francisco and just gave up trying to stop it.

 I then realized the physical world is an exact replica of the spiritual world. We know when we don’t shower or clean with water and soap a stench or bad smell will build up.

Titus 3:5 tells us that the Holy Spirit is what washes one clean. The bible also talks much about searing our consciences or a hardening of our hearts if we continue in sin.  Walking down some of the streets that I could hardly breath on, others sat eating food without giving it thought, these people were so accustomed to the smell that they didn’t even notice.  The same is true when we become so used to living apart from Gods word, we hardly recognize the spiritual stench of our sins that we live in.

Likewise San Francisco has become known for its drug users and homosexual community. Many in the city have rejected the spiritual water (the Holy Spirit) and God’s word that cleans, thereby building up layers of spiritual filth with un-righteous acts, homosexuals, drug addicts and many other ungodly values that are the root cause of what is seen in the physical.

This is the very reason God sent his son into the world, to wash us clean, so that we may have life (John 3:17), not just in some spiritual sense, but with mind, body and spirit.  

When we accept God into our hearts, he sends his Holy Spirit into us and we become a new person.  What does that mean?  It means once we receive the Holy Spirit, our thinking begins to change.  The bad things we were once so attracted to begin to disgust us.  Sometimes we may even be able to mask the bad smells with colognes and perfumes, nice suits, beautiful cars and flashy homes but at the end of the day the consequences catch up one way or another.

Believing the lie that we can live un-righteously, against God’s word and be clean is foolishness. If you can’t see the spiritual, then at least recognize the physical. Allowing people to use your city as a bathroom is obviously unclean. A city that has near 50% of it’s homosexual population infected with HIV is not healthy or good for the healthcare system, the physical, emotional or mental well being of its citizens.

 It is the lie of the enemy that tells you these things are going to satisfy you, but God warns it all leads to destruction and death in the end.  God is the one who wants to restore you, it is the lies of the enemy telling people that evil tastes and smells so good, but in reality destroys. It is the false hope and freedom promised by the homosexual lifestyle, the drugs and other un-righteousness  that tears apart families, lives and people.

 There is only one way to correct the problem and that is by admitting our wrong doing, admitting our sins according to Gods word, then by turning from what got us into the situation in the first place.  Turning from all the unrighteousness, the drugs, and the perversions.  An unrighteous city not only destroys itself, it attracts more flies, more drug users, gives sanctuary to more criminals, and promotes further Wickedness and filth.  The consequences always work together, you can't separate the physical from the spiritual.

 The good news is God doesn’t seek to condemn anyone (John 3:17). He said that anyone who calls on his name and seeks him will be saved and will become a new person.  He promises that he will help and answers anyone who genuinely calls on him (Jeremiah 33:3).

It’s time to wash our citizens and cities in not just water but righteousness. When they are washed in the word of God, only then will a new foundation be established, a beautiful fragrance upon which new life can be built that will never be destroyed. That foundation is Jesus Christ who said:

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NIV


"Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” Matthew 7:24 NLT















May 28, 2017 by Steven Lazerus