Yesterday, I went shopping for the perfect outfit, head to toe, in the perfect colors, for a family event on the weekend. While I pray and trust that God is, first and foremost, developing my inner beauty of character as a woman of God, I do own a business that assists women in caring for their skin and applying color cosmetics to their advantage to look their individually beautiful best. So I do dress fashionably, whether I'm in a professional, social or casual everyday setting, with modesty and thrift as priorities. We ladies would do well to make sure our emphasis lines up with I Peter 3:3 (NIV):
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.
The event's color scheme was tough to match as I searched for an outfit, combing the racks for any possible combination without much success. Then voila! There was the perfect designer dress, a Vera Wang, the price knocked down to $11.90, a Petite__! It was literally hanging facing outward, just waiting for me to take it! That was totally God, no other explanation possible. Can't help but think of the verse that assures me that God cares and gets involved in even the smallest matters if they matter to us--Psalm 138:8:
The LORD will perfect that which concerns me.
I'd already found sandals, so I just selected an assortment of costume jewelry and accessories and took it home to try different combinations for the right effect. That decision made, I began putting the non-coordinating items back into the bag with my receipt. One piece of costume jewelry, a necklace that cost twice as much as my discounted dress, kept lying on the counter, was or was being dangled from my hands, the necklace below--absolutely gorgeous. I thought, I can use it with other clothes." But a quiet voice said, "You win jewelry from Mary Kay all the time, so you don't need it--put it in the bag!"
I kept hesitating, and then, shockingly, was reminded of the story of Achan during the Israelites' conquest of Canaan under Joshua, Chapter 7. After the city of Jericho had been burned to the ground, the devoted items--silver, gold, bronze and iron--were taken not for men's plunder, but to build God's temple. But Achan had stolen and hidden an gorgeous Babylonian garment, a wedge of gold and many silver coins. That theft had caused the children of Israel to suffer defeat at the hands of Ai. Leviticus 27:28-29c, KJV says,
...every devoted thing is most holy unto the LORD.
None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be out to death.
At Joshua's command Achan, his family, and all he possessed, were stoned to death and burned in the sight of the congregation.
"Touch not the unclean thing," I heard repeatedly in my mind. I put the necklace into the bag, reminding myself that covetousness can be fatal!
Whatever our besetting sin may be, take it to Christ in confession, and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit when you are warned! As I was reminded by this morning's selection in Charles Spurgeon's Morning & Evening,
"None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good;" or helpless saints, either.You must be conquerors through Him who loved you, if conquerors at all ." (from Romans 8:37) Our laurels must grow among His olives in Gethsemane."