Virtue Over Vanity
November 12th, 2017
King Xerxes was in the middle of throwing an elaborate, wine-filled banquet in order to both honor many key Persian leaders, as well as commence war strategies to invade Greece. This was a king full of pride and impulsivity - two things that don’t go well when mixed with an intoxicated state of mind. He was well aware of the fact that it was against Persian customs for Queen Vashti to show herself before a public gathering of men, yet he still called for her to make an appearance before his all-male celebration. He wanted to parade his stunning wife - adorned in her royal crown and finest linens - in an effort to show off another form of his wealth and success.
Vashti was put in a very difficult predicament between her nation’s sacred customs and her king/husband’s command. In either choice, she would be breaking strict procedures.
It would have been much easier to give in and step into the doors of that room of drunken officials. She wouldn’t have had to enrage her husband AND she would have been praised and adored by a multitude of men! But Vashti was a woman of virtue, and she refused to lower her standards and break protocol. She was not willing to go against the basic principles she stood for just so that Xerxes could strike awe and jealousy into the hearts of his followers by way of her outward beauty. She didn’t care about receiving lavish compliments. Vashti had to have known that her denial would be accompanied by anger and harsh consequences, but she did not waver on keeping herself virtuous. She recognized that virtue was not worth sacrificing for vanity.
We, like Vashti, may be asked in some situations to compromise our beliefs in order to appease the crowd. We may feel pressured and even tempted to do so because it will get us positive attention and keep us out of negative conflict with those around us. But what it all comes down to is what you value more - what others think of you or what the Lord thinks of you. If it’s others’ perspectives you’re concerned about, you’re choosing to honor worldly vanity - excessive pride in oneself. But if you make God’s opinion the only one that truly counts, you’re taking a path of virtue - behavior of righteous moral standards. This may not always be the most appealing path, and it may not always get you the answer you want. But at the end of the day - at the end of your LIFE - what’s more important? Virtue or vanity?
Pray: “Lord, I know that every day I face choices that have the potential to pull me away from You. I want to make the decision in everything that exemplifies a behavior that is like You - holy and virtuous. If I am ever tempted to fall into a choice of vanity, I pray that You would redirect me and help me to prioritize my values.”