Wise Words

When you get sick, and sad, and weary of God’s people, turn your thoughts to God Himself; and if ever you see any spots in the Church, Christ’s bride, look at her glorious Husband, and you will only love Him the more as you think of His wondrous condescension in having loved such a poor thing as His Church is even at her best.

C. H. Spurgeon

Back in the days of my atheism, I had a ridiculous habit. OK, I had several ridiculous habits, but one of the silliest was a tendency to judge Christianity by Christians.

This, of course, is foolish; akin to judging the entire field of theoretical physics by the mathematical expertise of the world’s preschool students.

If you want to rightly assess Christianity, the Person to examine is Yeshua Messiah, aka Jesus Christ. He is the one who set the standard. His Church are the ones learning how to live up to it – one computational error at a time.

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;

it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

Revelation 19:7-9

Here Comes the Bride

 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready. It was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure–for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.  Revelation 19:7-8

I have had much on my heart to share with you lately, but time has been very short. I had originally planned to spend my time today on a topic that has been weighing on me – the danger of embracing only trends and forsaking tradition –  but the joyous occasion of my youngest sister’s wedding has given me a new direction for the day. I will come back to my original topic soon, but for today I want to talk about some insight I have recently had on being a part of the Bride of Christ.

The wedding was beautiful. My sister had spent countless hours over the last several weeks getting details sorted and to-do list items crossed off. On the morning of the Big Day, there was a glitch with the hair and makeup team that threw the rest of the day’s agenda into a slight tailspin. There was happy chaos galore, and I have to hand it to my sis that she may have felt nervous and stressed but she did not lose her cool.

When she walked into the church,  half an hour late and after I had literally carried the last reluctant flower girl down the aisle, she looked as ready as a bride could be.  She was radiant, by all appearances happy and calm, and not a single hair was out of place. She was fully prepared to meet her groom, and the look on the face of my new brother-in-law made all of the groundwork for that moment worthwhile.  It was a priceless for them both and for all of us who were watching.

As I participated in the glorious chaos of the pre-wedding events, I could not help but think how seriously everyone took this day. The bride must be the epitome of perfection from head to toe. There were manicures, professional hair and makeup, dress alterations, decorations, and goodness knows how many other preparations all with the same goal–making the bride stunning beyond her ordinary (but in my humble opinion, very substantial) beauty.

All of this bride business naturally had me thinking of the Church. She is the Bride of Christ, and we, as members, are charged with making preparations to present her, spotless and without blemish, when the Groom arrives to bring her home.  It is a tremendous task, but I believe the first step is to begin with our own distracted and divided hearts.

I fear that sometimes we are not so earnest as as my sister’s bridesmaids were about this present time of spiritual preparation.  It may be that we see the coming of the Lord as a distant future event. I daresay that we may even believe it to be a somewhat mythological event, though not many of us would admit to that. Regardless, we do not seem to be busying ourselves with the same degree of joyfully frantic preparation that is involved in our earthly weddings.   It is as if we do not believe the Groom is really waiting, or that we will truly be found unprepared if we are not vigilant and diligent in our own walk with God day by day.

It has been heavy on my heart for some time that we, the Church, need to get serious about our faith. We need to really run that race, straining with all we have toward that upward goal of the call of God. We need to make sure that we are not putting off the nudges and promptings of the Holy Spirit but obeying immediately, even when it is inconvenient. What He calls us to abandon, we must abandon without regret or delay. What He calls us to take up, we must go right to work on and that with gusto. We need to get businesslike about listening to conviction and about making our own hearts humble and contrite, about being ready and willing to repent. Now more than ever, we need to be speakers of God’s truth, sharing the great news of His salvation with anyone and everyone we can, not neglecting the news that He will come again, perhaps sooner than we think.

We can no longer afford to be lackluster in our Christianity, nor can we squander time following “churchy” trends and fads. We need to be on our knees, in the Word, and preparing our hearts for the coming of the Bridegroom. For all we know, He may even now be at the door. Let’s get ready to meet Him with all the giddy joy of a bride on her wedding day!

For more thoughts on preparedness, read Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew 25:1-13.