Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Preparation




"I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star. And the Spirit and the Bride say 'Come!' Let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take of the water of life freely....He who testifies to these things says, 'Surely I am coming quickly.' Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen" 
Revelation 22:17, 20-21 (NKJV)

I have been studying the Bride of Christ for quite some time now. I began studying it back in the summer in preparation of our annual Fall Women's Retreat that occurred November 2nd & 3rd. The subject matter is overwhelming to say the least and I was quite intrigued by it all.

At our retreat we covered a few different subjects, 1) the Parallels Between the Jewish Wedding Customs and the Bride of Christ, 2) Preparing for the Big Day, and 3) Love Song for a Savior, but only touched on them because let's face it, you cannot properly study everything there is to know about the Bride of Christ in 3 one hour sessions! But God revealed to us (Dianne and myself, the "wedding coordinators" lol) that our retreat was just the beginning. It was simply to wet our appetite to know and grow more in the knowledge of this subject, and He led us to facilitate our next Bible study---drum-roll please---on the Bride of Christ!

So last Tuesday night was the introduction to the study and the Tuesday after Thanksgiving we will begin digging deeper into learning more about our role as the bride. As I have begun to dive into the Word on this topic again, I am thirsting to know more about what is considered the "Time of Preparation"...our time here on earth, after our betrothal and before the coming again of our Bridegroom. 

How do I prepare? What am I not doing now that I should be and what am I doing that I shouldn't?

Personally, I think the best way to describe the first step of preparation is Self-Examination. I am to be presented to Christ as pure and holy, without blemish...a radiant bride. Do I see myself this way? Not quite...which obviously means that I have work to do. I need to be preparing for when my Groom returns. And I don't know when He is returning to take me to the place He has prepared for me, so I cannot waste time. 

We as the church, the bride of Christ, we cannot waste anymore time!

Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Ephesians 5:24-27

I've always thought that if I do this, this and this, then I was doing good in terms of being a "Christian". But if I skipped one, even one day, or if I couldn't finish the study I was on or whatever, then I was failing.
I'm learning now, in the last 3-4 years, that this is not so much the truth and I shouldn't be examining myself by earthly standards, but by the standards that God has given to His church.

There is no "check-list" so to speak...but there is a Book that gives instruction for this period of preparation.
I will fall short. I am not perfect. But I have been covered by Grace and forgiven for my shortcomings and can now move past that to grow my relationship with God and grow my faith and obey His Word and follow His lead and long for His Will.

He is my Bridegroom.

The relationship between a husband and a wife is a picture of the relationship of Christ and His church. I seek my husband's approval on earth, I should seek for Christ's approval so much more. I turn to my husband in all decision making, as Christ's bride I can't make a single decision without consultation from Him.  I look forward to growing more in my role and identity as a part of the Bride of Christ. As I am filled more and more with Christ, I see less and less of myself...I hear less and less of my voice...and I welcome the continuation of this decrease of self and increase of Jesus.
I want to be ready...I want to be presentable to my King when He rides in to get me.
My prayer is for this study to increase our appetite, to light a passionate fire within us for our Bridegroom and to cause us to live a life worthy of the title "The Bride of Christ". 

No comments:

Post a Comment