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If you've ever gone to a public high school, you know there are different groups with which kids associate. Some groups are formed on the basis of social status, some on intelligence, some on common interests. But whether it's the wealthy, the brainy or the golf pros, within each group, certain individuals stand out. They are the popular ones, the ones people are drawn to. When they walk into a room or down the hall, there is always a crowd of people following them.

Why is this? Probably because they are more beautiful or more gifted or have more bubbly personalities than the rest. Whatever the trait, there is something that distinguishes them from everyone else.

It was the same with Jesus. Wherever He went there was a crowd following Him. And no wonder—one touch of His hand could bring healing or wholeness. But more than the miracles, it was the anointing on His life-the fragrance of the presence of God-that caused people to be attracted to Him.

Jesus' anointing was the result of years of preparation-living a sinless life and developing a deep, intimate relationship with the Father.

We can catch a glimpse of the preparation that's required by studying the process Esther went through to prepare to meet the king (see Esth. 2:12-17). She had only one night to receive the king's favor-one chance to please him. Yet she spent an entire year getting ready.

The preparation process was a vigorous one. It involved scrubbing her skin and repeatedly applying oil of myrrh, perfumes and "preparations for beautifying women" (v. 12, NKJV) so that the appearance and fragrance totally changed. By the time she was done her skin gave off a pleasant aroma that made her appealing to the king (see v. 17).

The Bible says it is through us that God "diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing" (2 Cor. 2:14-15). As believers, we are to carry it wherever we go!

"The fragrance of Christ." Is that the perfume you wear? Is that the aroma people notice when you walk into a room?

Like Esther, we must shed our old skin and put on new if we want to give off this scent, and we do that by spending time in the Word, in prayer, and in praise and worship-in short, by deepening our relationship with God. The more we pursue Him, the more the anointing on us will increase and we will give off the fragrance of Christ.

When this happens, people will be drawn to us, not because of our beauty or our bubbly personalities, but because they can sense the presence of Jesus in our lives. They may not realize at first what is different about us, but God will use us as He did Queen Esther to keep His people from perishing.

If you aren't already giving off the fragrance of Christ, start your preparation process today. Spend time in the Word and in His presence, and allow His anointing to increase so that you will become "the aroma of life" (2 Cor. 2:16) to those around you.

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