Ricci Wilson, World For Jesus Ministries, April 2019

A tactic of the enemy is to fold us and God’s plans for our lives into his own plans for us. Satan tried this, albeit unsuccessfully, with Christ in Matthew 4, as he took our Lord through the temptations. Satan offered Christ temporal power and wealth and even tried to get Him to tempt God. If Christ had failed at any point, we would not have the strength to resist the enemy today. Satan would have enfolded God’s perfect plan for Christ into his own plans for mankind. 

Christ came to serve us, not dominate us. We are created and called for a specific purpose and as such, in everything we do, we must strive to submit to God’s will so we can fulfill our purpose. Remember, it is not about us, it is not about our flesh, it is not about our needs. It is about the will, the plans, and the purposes of the living God being accomplished through us. 

In this hour, He is calling us into a new level of refining, and I promise you, it’s a deep level of refining. Why is it so deep? Because at the end of this, the manifestation of the sons and daughters of God will come forth! And if we have not allowed the refining to be thorough, we will not be among them. My heart cries out for us all to be ready! As intercessors, we have wept together, we have battled together, we have walked this journey for so many years and to think for a moment that there is a single one who, at the end of this road, would not be with us, grieves my heart beyond comprehension. 

I think of the life of Esther, a child, orphaned and raised by her uncle Mordecai. We all know the story: Queen Vashti would not come when summoned by the King, so he banished her and the search for his new queen began (Esther 2). The beautiful virgins were gathered up and sent to the king’s harem, where they would go through a year of refining and purification before being presented to the king. If he was not pleased with them, they were put into the second house full of concubines, destined to await the call of the king. The law was clear, they could only come if they were called upon, and they may never be called upon again. 

Esther was among them, a young Jewish girl, a victim of the Babylonian exile. Ripped away from her homeland, seemingly insignificant in the eyes of most, yet her outward beauty was something to behold. This external gift paved the way for her to be counted among those who would meet the king. Mordecai raised her as his own, loved her as his own, yet he encouraged her to press on. Why? Because he saw her destiny. Why did she submit to her uncle? Because her uncle submitted to the Lord God. 

Mordecai knew in his heart that Esther’s purpose was much greater than she realized. They put everything on the line for this—her purity, who she was—because he saw God’s plan and purpose. Remember, if she was not accepted by the king she would be put into house number two, she would never marry, and that would be it for her. But when the persecution of the Jews increased in the land, Mordecai came to understand that her true purpose was to save her people. Mordecai was given to the Spirit of God as he encouraged her, saying, “How do you know that you were not created for this moment, to save your people?” 

Esther’s year-long external refining was intense, and Mordecai checked on her every day. I imagine that he prayed intensely for her to be prepared for the day when she came face to face with the king. He must have interceded for the favor of God to be upon her, and yes, God did give her favor each step of the way. Hegai, the custodian of the women, oversaw the preparation process of the young girls and provided Esther with choice lodging, the finest perfumes, personal attendants, and so on to equip her for this process. Esther’s body was purified, scrubbed, and as her flesh received the treatments, God was preparing Esther from within. However, He was not only preparing Esther, He was preparing the king’s heart to receive her.

Esther submitted to each step of authority that had been placed over her life, beginning with Mordecai and then Hegai. When it was time for her to go into the king, Esther took nothing of her own choosing. She went under the advisement of Hegai, no more and no less. This tells us that she did not take on the world during her year-long exposure to the luxurious ways of this harem. She submitted to the process but did not allow the external pleasures to enter her heart. Instead, she’d given her heart to the Lord. We all know the end of this tale: the King loved her and made her his Queen. When Esther went to meet her king, the favor of the Lord God was upon her. The Bible tells us that he looked upon her and loved her above them all. 

Some may wonder, how could Mordecai send his niece out like that? Because he was a man who allowed His mind to be transformed, submitting to God. He knew the deeper things of God and understood the higher things of God. He would not send His niece out to be counted among the king’s concubines—he sent her out to be the Queen. 

Esther had a call on her life, she submitted to the authorities set before her, setting aside her own plans, and fully placed herself at the mercy of her God; He must pave the path for her. She entered the harem, endured the refining, and came out a bride—a bride positioned to save her people. 

If Esther had allowed the external pleasures of the palace to enter her heart, the outcome of this story would have been much different. But she kept her heart pure before God and submitted to her uncle. This is the depth of purification that Paul refers to in many of his letters. Romans 13, Galatians 3, and Colossians 3 all speak of the purification of the saints so we can step into the fullness of the will of God for our lives. This is a call to set aside our own plans and desires and put on Christ. When we “put on Christ,” we are submitting ourselves to His will, His love, and for His passion to be done in and through our lives.