What She Said! Part 2: A Bride
by Paula Miles, Guest Writer
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 5:25-27
God graciously gives us pictures in His Word that help us understand this interdependent living grounded in the truth that He calls us to. We begin to see how He uses this ultimately for His glory but also for our good. Truth and relationships provide us stability as the winds blow and the waves come into our lives. As we think about living stones being built together and a body growing and maturing, we better understand what living in relationship to God and others looks like. As we continue in the book of Ephesians, we are given another picture – a bride.
As a young girl, I loved to go to weddings. Enamored with the bride, I would focus on her throughout the ceremony and celebration. As I have gotten older, I have found myself wanting to look down the aisle at the groom rather than up the aisle when the bride enters. This was a real struggle when my own daughter got married. I am thankful my nephew videoed my son-in-law so that I could really capture his response. At first sight, Charlie’s face breaks out in the biggest smile showing his delight in his bride. Before you know it, he begins to sway back and forth and his knees almost buckle before the tears stream down his face. It gets me every time I watch it. Intellectually I know the Scripture teaches that we are the bride and Christ is the bridegroom but somehow I miss the point and often reverse the image. I think I need to have the same affection for Christ as my son-in-law did for my daughter during their wedding. Brian Habig and Les Newsome say in their book, The Enduring Community, “The point is this: when we begin to look down the aisle of our own salvation and see Christ, standing there with anticipation, knees buckling under the weight of the beauty that He has created and sustained. With tears flowing for the delight that He takes in us – only then will we begin to be the Church that God designed for His Son, the groom.” So what do we do? We dress. We celebrate. We invite. I thought of these three things as I reflected on preparing for my daughter’s wedding. Can you imagine a bride not dressing herself or making herself beautiful for her wedding day? What we need to remember is that she dresses herself not to earn her groom’s favor but because she already has it. She longs to please Him because she is captivated by his love for her. In the same way, those of us who have been given the righteous garments of Christ continue to work out our salvation as we seek to clothe ourselves (Colossians 3:12, Romans 13:14) and put on the very character of God (Ephesians 4:24). We also celebrate with others in anticipation of our wedding day. Think of the showers and parties as well as the numerous gifts that are given to the bride as she looks forward to her wedding day. Our lives as believers should be filled with joy and we should not give up meeting together but encourage one another as we see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24) Finally, we invite. We interlock with our brothers and sisters to celebrate all that God is doing in us, around us, and through us. We invite them into our brokenness so they too can witness God’s faithfulness at work in the lives of His people. We invite unbelievers to taste and see, because we long for them to be part of the “New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” (Revelation 21:2)
God is using every detail of your life and the lives of your brothers and sisters to prepare you for your wedding day, the day He will come for you. None of the pain and brokenness you feel is wasted. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (II Corinthians 4:17) Dress yourself, celebrate, and invite. Your bridegroom is coming!
Father, thank you for Your Word and the pictures You give us in Scripture that helps us better understand our relationship to You and others. Help us not to miss the point but to see Christ standing down the aisle of our own salvation, delighting in us, His bride. May we always be captivated by Your love and compelled to dress ourselves, celebrate, and invite. Thank You for the hope we have in Your coming.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paula Miles is wife to Kevin and mother of four. Paula has experienced the joy of being both a full-time homemaker and a public school teacher. Studying and teaching God’s Word is her passion, as well as coming alongside women to encourage them to understand their unique design and fulfill their individual callings. Paula is on staff at Clemson Presbyterian as women’s ministry coordinator since 2014, is a conference speaker, and serves on the national women’s ministry team for the PCA as a women’s ministry trainer.
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