Monday, March 12, 2012

40 Days of Virtue: Stepping Out

 "She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns."
~Proverbs 31:22

We are all familiar with the expression, "When I am old, I shall wear purple!" It's a declaration of  independence, of coming of age, of boldly stepping out, of no longer being held back by "What will others think of me or say about me?"
It's no wonder that purple has earned a place of honor on the color wheel. Purple is associated with royalty. In ancient times, purple was the most precious of dyes. It required 250,000 mollusks to make one ounce. That doesn't paint a very pretty picture of this precious color, but it does account for its great price back in the day! It was highly valued in Israel; so much so that God specified purple in His design of the tabernacle and temple. Royal robes and garments of the wealthy were purple. Purple set people and places apart from the ordinary.
But this woman did not just wear purple. She also wore linen. Linen is a special fabric. It allows circulation: the perfect choice for a hot day in the middle east! Linen was worn by the wealthy, by kings, queens. It was worn by priests and used in places of worship. Ordinary linen. Fine linen. There was a difference...and this woman wore fine linen!
So, what will we think of her, this woman stepping out in her purple and linen? 
Does it make you want to just dismiss her?
Or does it make you want to know her better?
Your answer may reflect more about you than it does about her. Maybe she exposes deep insecurities, jealousy, envy, our own striving for the finer things in life, our own battle with identity, our self-esteem. We're missing the point. 1 Peter 3:3-4 has something to say about this:

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."
It's hard to imagine that a man would tell us not to take care of our outer appearance! But, the emphasis here is not to follow some sort of dress code or self-denial. Peter is saying that we women need to get our priorities right. We need to spend as much or even more time caring for our inner beauty as we do on our outward beauty, because our true source of beauty is the beauty of our heart. 
Ladies, when we make this inner beauty our priority, we overcome our insecurities. We're no longer striving for the prize in the beauty contest. The battle is over because we know we are loved by God Himself. And we are loving, LoVing, LOVING each other as Christ loves us! And, nothing compares to living in the loving support of our sisters in Christ.
THAT is what this woman is about! She is not afraid to wear fine linen and purple because she is a Daughter of the King and she knows it from the inside out. Everything she does flows from that deep place within.
If you have *accepted Jesus Christ into your heart and life, YOU are a daughter of the King too! Don't wait until you're old to wear purple! Step out with confidence in the person God has created you to be. Girlfriend, let's do life together!
*Steps to peace with God

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