Then the royal officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king’s command?” Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply. Esther 3:3-4
A day with significant pressure can usually be survived quite admirably. Adrenalin comes to our aid. Coping skills are fresh and haven’t been taxed yet. But let that pressure last weeks, months, even years, and the real proof of a person’s faith emerges. Stamina with holy responses can only flow out from someone who walks intimately with God. A smile given through gritted teeth is not the smile produced by the Holy Spirit.
I wonder if Mordecai knew the long road that lay ahead for him on the first morning he refused to bow down to Haman. Probably not. Little did he know that the next day he would be tested again. And the next day, and the next. The royal officials who served with him at the gate of the palace kept asking him, “Why do you disobey the king’s command?” I’m sure they were nervous to see whether he would stand firm or break under the strain. They knew the cost and felt the tension.
When the fires are hot and the stresses too numerous to recount over coffee with a friend, the body and soul are in a fragile place. Only my spirit, the part of me that communes with God, holds the key to whether or not I will be crushed under the weight. When I worship, pray and meditate, it is my spirit that does so. Then, my spirit transmutes the benefit of that encounter to my soul and to my body. The grace to stand firm is the result. In every part of me then, I am fortified to make righteous choices.
I know people with guts and am acquainted with those who have a strong will. But the kind of battle in which Mordecai engaged was not about human stubbornness. It was about strength of spirit and a courage that resulted from time with God. Without it, any strong man would crumble.
Mordecai was a man who worshiped deeply. His faith was not formed on the day he defied Haman. That would have been too late. No, it was fashioned in the dailyness of life, in the years leading up to his great test of faith. There is nothing more important today than fattening up my spirit for whatever lies ahead. The victory won through ‘Haman-like tests’ are won only if we prepare today.
My time with You comes first, Jesus. I am weak and easily defeated unless my strength comes from knowing You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.