Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
—2 Corinthians 7:1

God had a purpose for young Esther higher than being the king’s contest winner. Before this young girl was selected from her province to enter the contest, she didn’t know proper protocol: she hadn’t been taught formal table manners; she didn’t know how to curtsy; she didn’t know the right clothes to wear; she didn’t display manners befitting royalty. Yet, God selected this ignorant orphan girl, fresh from the hills. Like Cinderella, her foot “fit the glass slipper,” and she found favor with the king.

The king chose Esther not because she was Jewish or because he had a spiritual revelation. He was simply using his senses, unaware that God was guiding his eyes. Did you know that God is able to use people who aren’t spiritual? Have you ever had someone say to you, “I don’t know why I’m doing this for you; I don’t know why I’m breaking the rules for you”? They’re telling the truth—they don’t know why they’re helping you. They can’t explain intelligently why they want to help you. God will even use your enemies to make a way for you when you’re in His will. Proverbs 16:7 says, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

Once Esther was in the palace, she had to go through a purification process. Along with the call of God comes “the process.” We like to be called out and chosen by God, but for every calling there is a discipline.

First, Esther had to bathe in oil for six months. In Scripture, oil signifies the Holy Spirit. This woman was going to determine the fate of her nation. She had to be anointed. She was affecting future generations. Queen Vashti was an independent woman concerned with doing her own thing, but Esther understood it was not about her thing; it was about following God’s plan.

Men, sometimes your friends will make fun of you for being spiritually minded. They may mock your sensitivity and compassion while tempting you to revert back to your cold, detached, self-reliant past. Ask yourself, How is that working out for my so-called “friends”? Remember that it takes more courage and machismo to remain sensitive to the things of God than it does to run from Him and live life on your own.

Lord Jesus, You know that God’s plan is not always comfortable and fun. As a human, I know that I must be continually purified as I seek to follow Your will. Please give me the strength and spiritual endurance to run the race well, and further Your kingdom purposes. Amen.