By Marlene Houk
What makes you nervous about talking to people? The job interview with an important salary attached? A conversation with your child’s teacher after a difficult time? Or the doctor’s office after a serious procedure?
How do you cope with the stress? Do you dress in your favorite power outfit? Assure yourself with a stunning piece of jewelry? Or, perhaps you promise yourself a shopping or fishing trip when the meeting is over.
The Bible addresses this issue. A young woman, well-trained but probably intimidated by the wealth and power of the influencers surrounding her, allowed her royal wardrobe to reflect a great spiritual parallel. Her story rolls out on the red carpet in the book of Esther.
She stepped onto the runway, nervous, overwhelmed, and stunned. Immediately, hundreds of foreign eyes focused on the arresting young woman. Exclusive clothes caressed her lovely figure and enhanced a vague sense of something different. As she walked gracefully across the marble floor, her charisma fell delicately upon a phalanx of dignitaries at the far end of the throng, hundreds of feet away. Her smooth creamy skin glowed with health and vitality, and brilliant black eyes glimmered with determination. Exclusive professionals held their breath, their reputations and power in the balance as she stopped before the king.
The best haute couture available in the world enveloped Hadassah as she competed for the world title of King Ahasuerus’ queen in the ancient kingdom of the Medes and Persians. She was the envy and example of hundreds of fellow contestants who carefully remembered every detail of her person. As her attendants prepared her outwardly with unique fragrances, little-known beauty secrets, and top-quality fabrics uniquely suited to her frame, they observed her years of training with her beloved guardian, Mordecai. Her intelligence and the inner power of her spirit showed translucently through the sophistication of her garments and makeup.
But the way she presented herself puzzled the other contestants, and they knew without it, they could not win.
Because of her training and preparation, she was able to focus efficiently on God’s will while the entire nation of Medes and Persians around her wallowed in distraction and confusion.
Her secret: power-dressing…within. Esther experienced years of spiritual training under the mentorship of Mordecai as her outward beauty increased. Her faith in God was firmly established by the time of the beauty contest as she was pushed into a godless world that beckoned so sensuously. The ability to submit to her adopted parent had been planted in love and rooted in logic. As this breathtakingly lovely young girl developed discernment for the treacherous and deceitful arena of politics, Mordecai guided her as always.
In today’s tornado-like world of confusion and lightning-quick changes, we need to imitate Esther as she wisely shows us how to dress for the whirling storms of life. Like her ultimate power-dressing strategy, we need a spiritual collection of clothes that prepare us for life.
We need key pieces in our closet such as the garment of salvation hanging in Isaiah 61:10 “for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”
We need foundation pieces such as work clothes, found in John 13:4. Jesus serves his disciples, using a towel, “…and took a towel, and girded himself.”
A basic heavy-duty outfit that protects us when working in the trenches of life extends our ability to work. Each piece is carefully created for maximum use and efficiency. Read about this specialized wear tucked into the closet of Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the whole armour of God.”
Most wardrobes contain a statement garment that can be worn on special occasions. An appealing and multi-colored garment is the one of praise laying on the shelf of Isaiah 61:3, “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;”
Of course, our most treasured gown is our bridal dress as the betrothed of the King of Kings. Psalm 45:13-14 locates this precious garment, “The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.”
Power-dressing, Bible-style, is quite “trending” for Christians today!
Marlene is an author and teacher of Bible studies. She may be reached at Bible167@gmail.com
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