"Polish" - 1) To make smooth and shiny; 2) To free from coarseness; 3) To complete or perfect by removing flaws.
Is there something in my life that is causing a separation between me and my relationship with God?
"It ought to be kept in mind that attachment to a creature makes a person equal to that creature; the stronger the attachment, the closer is the likeness to the creature and the greater the equality, for love effects a likeness between the lover and the loved."
John of the Cross
The Ascent of Mount Carmel
"Step 2: Polishing Through Separation"
"'Leave the corruption and the compromise; leave it for good,' says God. ‘Don't link up with those who will pollute you. I want you all for myself. I'll be Father to you, you'll be sons and daughters to me.'"
II Corinthians 6: 17, 18, The Message
Yesterday when we began our study about young Esther, we found her orphaned and living with her cousin, Mordecai, in Shushan, a foreign country to this Jewish girl.
Not long after we met Esther, there was a major upheaval in the house of King Ahasuerus. In the third year of his reign he threw a party for all his nobles and officials. Let me say that to call this a "party" was an understatement. For 180 days, the king displayed all his riches and to top it off, he held a banquet that lasted seven days. On the last day, when he was full of wine, he told his servants to go get the queen, Vashti, and bring her to him so he could "display" her beauty to his friends. Vashti refused - a direct affront to the king. And so he banished her and ordered for a new queen to be found.
At the advice of his wise men, the king decided to hold a nationwide beauty contest. It is not clear from the Biblical record if Esther came of her free will. It is doubtful she did. But seeing her great beauty, she was rounded up in this national contest and taken to live under the care of Hegai, keeper of this king's women.
For twelve months, Esther lived under the instruction of the house of Ahasuerus - with spa treatments of myrrh and sweet oils - all in preparation to be presented to the king for his pleasure.
While this may sound wonderful at first glance, just think what life would be like if you were orphaned then whisked off from the home of the only loved one you had on earth, to be sequestered in the palace of some king who, in a drunken rage, had banished the last queen for refusing his order. Don't you think you would be lonely? Don't you think you would be afraid? Isn't that what happens to us when we find ourselves separated from the people, places, and things that give us a feeling of security and comfort?
If you think that Esther is the only person in the Bible who found herself facing separation from those people and things in her life that made her feel secure, you are wrong.
Take these men and women - all Bible heroes and heroines who found themselves stripped of the safety of home and family:
1. Joseph - who was sold by his brothers to slave traders. Taken to Egypt and sold to Potiphar. Then accused of adultery by a jealous woman and thrown in prison where he stayed for years.
2. Ruth - who moved from her land of birth, Moab, to reside with her mother-in-law in an unknown country where God was worshiped.
3. Elijah - the prophet who hid by a brook for years, fed by ravens and protected by God from King Ahab and his wicked wife, Jezebel, who wanted to kill him.
I could make a list of many people in the Scriptures who, before fulfilling the special task and purpose God had for their lives, found themselves stripped of the people and things that could hinder them from accomplishing what God had specifically designed for their lives.
I Invite you to ask yourself the question for today again, "Is there something in my life that is causing a separation between me and my relationship with God?"
In many of the lives of Biblical men and women, God used times of separation to help these individuals focus more clearly on Him and His purpose for them. These times of "aloneness" served to remove all obstacles and items that got in their way of total reliance on God.
It is easy to begin to rely on the "things' we have for our security. It is easy to trust in that "boyfriend" whom we think is so perfect to keep us warm when we are lonely. It is easy to depend on the money we get from that great job that makes us feel so important.
But sometimes God says, "I want you only to trust in me because I am the only One you can always count on."
The apostle Paul faced so many trials and times of separation from friends and family - from house and sustenance - and in those darkest of times, he found there is only one place where we are able to find total security:
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life…nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God."
Romans 8: 35-39
God may be using the "polishing" of separation today to show you and me how reliance on Him is the only way we will find and achieve the goal He has for our lives.
"Therefore let (she) who desires to live well…enter into the chamber of (her) heart and not deceive herself; but seriously and attentively consider whether (she) is in love with the pomps of the world…whether (she) gives them a palace in (her)heart, and in (her) words and in (her) actions."
"Be women of the world, but don't be worldly women."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.