Isaiah 61:10 (NLT)
I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels.
It has almost been a year since our daughter married her true love. The day marked the end of a crazy year for our family. When our son-in-love came to tell us that it was his desire to marry our daughter later that year, I pleaded for more time. It was not a matter of concern for her father and I both knew in our heart and confirmed by the Spirit that this was God’s Man for our sweet girl, but rather a matter of timing. Our son was about to receive a bone marrow transplant which would require most of our attention and time. Our daughter deserved a fairytale day that focused on her and nothing else. Well, he is a persistent one moved right ahead with the engagement. Over the course of the next few months, the insurance company denied our son’s transplant and a fight ensued to save his life. Meanwhile, she happily pinned wedding ideas and planned her big day. When the procedure was finally approved, it became clear that prudence would suggest postponing the wedding at least a month or two for her brother to recover. Oh the tears that flowed even though it was always a possibility. But as the Lord always seems to do, our son sailed through his transplant and recovered at a remarkable rate. I made it home just in time to finish the final preparations and attend all the activities I feared I would miss. Everything was perfect. Looking at the Reception Hall right before leaving to get ready, the sigh of relief was the deepest I ever felt and with a quick prayer I thanked the Lord for pulling it all together.
Our daughter was a breathtaking that day. Her flawless beauty that prevails on the inside gushed out of her. Her dress perfect. Her countenance impeccable. As they escorted me down to the front row, I looked up to see my two sons standing up front. Thank you Jesus! As the music began, our younger daughters were now standing before me both beauties all by themselves. As I stood to welcome my husband and daughter the blushing and beautiful bride to meet her beloved, I glanced back at my soon-to-be new son. As she rounded the corner smiling a radiant smile, he hung his head and began to sob uncontrollably. He was marrying the love of his life. All the waiting and stress of getting to this moment finally over. Here she comes. All he could do in this moment was weep.
As I replayed the memory this week, a thought occurred to me. Will Jesus weep when I stand before Him as the Bride of Christ? Will my beauty overtake Him? Will my presence please Him? Will He be overcome that I made it? What will the Lord’s Response be to His Bride when she comes? What bride doesn’t want her true love to be shaken the moment she arrives? Look at all the time and resources put into preparing for that moment? My daughter prepared her whole lifetime. At a very young age, she decided what would be appropriate to give of herself and what was precious enough to keep for her unknown groom. She kept those things safe and sacred preparing for the day yet to be determined. I cannot help believe that her radiance that day was from the priceless treasure withheld that she could now give to her beloved unashamedly. What do we have for our Bridegroom? He died for us to make it to our Wedding Day. What will we offer Him in that moment?
Jeremiah 2:32 (NLT)
Does a young woman forget her jewelry, or a bride her wedding dress? Yet for years on end my people have forgotten me.
Have we forgotten our groom? Jesus is coming for His Bride one day. The Bride that He made without spot or blemish in preparation for His Return. Where is she now? What is she doing? Did she grow tired of waiting? Has she stopped believing He will come? Has her love been compromised? Is she pure? My heart aches today for the many ways in a single day that I choose to ignore the fact that Jesus is coming for a spotless bride. All the little sins and tiny indiscretions that I have decided are okay. The compromises that I make for immediate comfort and substitutions for easy gratification. When the Holy Spirit says do, but I don’t. What does that have to do with the Lord or the fact that we are His Bride? Everything, my friend, everything.
Not a waking moment during the time of their engagement was I not thinking about our daughter’s wedding, sitting in a hospital room with our son sleeping, I would make plans and arrangements long distance. She would text me and I would text her back sending pictures, ideas and making decisions on the go. It was our focus from February to November second only to our son’s journey. My bridegroom is coming for me. I am His Bride. You are, too. Are you preparing? Are we even thinking about that day? Is it a priority to be ready? If not, it should be. I will admit there are days that I forget what my life is all about. Times when the worries and cares of life takeover the timing of His Return, but that is not the way that I want it to be. His Grace is sufficient for me but it is reserved for the Bride. The one who waits for, longs for and desires His Return.
Matthew 25:28-34 (NLT)
“Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.
There is an order to our intimacy with the Lord that begins something like this. We ask Him to be our Savior and Lord so we begin to do the things that He tells us to do. Obedience is essential to living in the Presence of God or we drift back into darkness. We read His Word and begin to do what He says. We are given His Spirit and begin to follow His Lead. In doing so we experience the Blessings of God hidden in our life all along just waiting our return. It makes an impact. As the Holy Spirit produces His Fruit in our spirit, we feel better, live better and begin to thrive rather than merely survive. I think that God will honor those who put their heart into honoring Him with their life in such a way. Jesus will point out His Sheep and they will be whisked into Eternity to live forever with the Lord. But that is not how I want it to be when He sees me. I don’t want to fall into the category of “sheep” on that day. Just another face in the crowd of those who gave “doing” their all but never achieved true intimacy with Christ.
Matthew 25:6-13 (NLT)
“At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’ “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
I find the story of the ten virgins to be the most telling and most unsettling concerning the Kingdom of God. Half of the ladies were actually ready and waiting for the Lord’s Return while the other half thought they were but were not. I want to know that I am ready when Jesus returns. I want the Lord to welcome me to His Side and desire my company forever. What did the foolish bridesmaids waste their oil on? Why were they not ready? Did they think that he wasn’t coming so they began entertaining the world? Did they think they had more time to get ready? I am not certain what they thought but it is disturbing to me in the midst of their company that they did not know. The bridegroom promised to return. Did they not believe Him?
In this day and age, it is easy to become wrapped up in this life and put off forever until one is perched precariously on the edge. Not everyone goes through an experience as our family did treading between life and death and experiencing the reality that tomorrow is not promised and morning may never come. It definitely changes attitudes and motivations in life and the reality of life beyond this world. Are we living looking and anticipating the return of Christ or hoping for just one more day? To be conscious of Christ’s Return requires a change of heart that precipitates new attitudes and actions in our life if we want to be more than a sheep or servant but desire to be His Bride. A bride is an invitation to intimacy. It is an offer to be consumed by His Love. It is reserved for those who desire this and live this life in preparation for the moment He invites us to come.
Hebrews 10:10 (NLT)
For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.
John 17:18-19 (NLT)
Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.
God’s Will for us is to be holy. Jesus came specifically to make us holy again and fit to be His Bride. There are many levels of followers in the Body of Christ. I think each has its own merit, but to truly fulfill God’s Will for our life is holiness. The Blood of Jesus washes us clean and makes us holy again. We are set free from the bondage of sin and now free to live apart from it in the Presence of God. Not everyone chooses to live that way, even some people who call Him Savior and Lord. This is not a condemning word but simple observation. I can love the Lord with my body and become obedient. I can love Him with my mind and become a servant. But what the Lord is after are those who choose to love Him with their heart completely including body, mind and spirit. To be fully consumed by such love demands our full attention. Trust is required in true intimacy. To open our body, mind, spirit and heart to Jesus Christ means we must trust Him completely. Holiness means living apart from sin … all sin. It is striving to remain free of darkness. Those who are holy do not entertain the world or things of the world that try to take the place of Jesus our Bridegroom. Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial to our relationship with the Lord. To be His Bride is to not only know how He feels about certain things in our life but also respect Him enough to step away completely.
Philippians 1:9-11 (NLT)
I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
Colossians 1:21-22 (NLT)
This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
I Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NLT)
Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.
Blameless. To be spotless and without blemish on the day of Christ’s Return. Sounds impossible. In our flesh, it is. But for those who decide to live in daily preparation for the day of Christ Return, wrapped in His Love, guided by His Truth and living life in the Spirit, it is possible. When I stand before God on that day – I want Him to see Jesus. Just, Jesus. Nothing more and nothing less which requires complete and total intimacy as my Savior and I become one. Just one. I must leave my life behind and follow Him. I must love Him with my body, mind, spirit and all of my heart. I don’t want the Lord to accept me for obedience or service, but I want His Love to cause His Heart to weep when I come home. I want to please my Savior and Lord like that which requires intimacy that my humanity is not capable of and only achieved by His Spirit living in me and His Truth becoming the compass of my life in all things. His Return may not have a mark on the calendar but it is the thing that seals my heart whether He comes for me or I go to Him – it really doesn’t matter as long as when they ask do you know her – He says, “I do!”
No bride wants her groom to be unaffected when he sees her for the first time in her wedding dress. She wants to take his breath away and make his heart beat wildly. She spends every moment leading up to that day preparing for his reaction. How will he respond? Her greatest desire is for him to want her above anyone else. She wants to be his one and only for the rest of her life. She wants to give her all to him in exchange for all of him. And if she is lucky on that day, when he sees her for the first time, he will weep. We are the bride of Christ. Why would we desire anything less?
Revelation 22:17-20 (NLT)
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book. He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!