Thursday, 05 January 2017 12:44

Becoming the Prepared Bride of Christ

Written by  Mary Sanders
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In my line of work, I spend a great amount of time preparing brides for their upcoming wedding day.  It is in fact, the main purpose of my job, to be sure everything is planned to perfection, to make sure each bride has everything she needs to be ready for her wedding day. Over the last year, the Lord really started speaking to me about that very thing… “preparing the bride”…and what that really means beyond a wedding day. What does it mean for us as believers to be the prepared Bride of Christ, ready for His return?  What can we, Jesus’ Bride, do to be ready for that glorious day?

 

I encourage you to read Matthew 25:1-13, the Parable of the ten virgins. In this parable, the writer is describing the return of Jesus, our bridegroom. It gives a really good picture of what it looks like to be prepared and wise as opposed to unprepared and foolish.  Before we really dive into what that means, let’s look for a minute at the setting of this passage.

 

It is describing a scene in a 1st century Jewish wedding.  The virgins in the story refer to bridesmaids. Being the wedding gal that I am, it really interested me to learn a little about the role these bridesmaids had and the wedding culture during this time. Wedding festivities back in Bible times lasted seven days.  The “processions” of the bride and groom marked the beginning of the week long celebration. When the wedding day finally arrived the bridegroom would dress himself in festive garments, wearing a crown of gold, or silver, or flowers. He would proceed with his friend and other attendants from an unknown place at an unknown time to the bride’s father’s house. The virgins of Israel would be outside waiting along the way in the evening with their oil lamps lit, until the loud warning cry, “Behold the Bridegroom Cometh, Go Ye Out to Meet Him,” and they would meet him and proceed with him to the entrance of the bride’s father’s house. The doors were shut and the feast began with great dancing and celebration lasting seven days at the bridegroom’s house.

 

Wow! What a celebration indeed! Who wouldn’t love that kind of extravagant wedding? Seven days of over the top, beautiful wedding festivities? What is so interesting to me in reading this description is that the wedding party, the bridesmaids, had a very important role. They had to be on the lookout for the arrival of the groom, they knew it and had to be prepared for it. Just as they had the role of preparing the procession of the bride and the groom, and preparing the festivities, we have a role too!  We have the opportunity to “light the way” for the people in our lives, to invite them along in the procession of a life with Christ, to show an example of what it looks like to live a life prepared and ready for the return of our King!

 

Once we make it our goal to prepare with excellence in all areas of our life, and serve the Lord with the upmost heart, we are able to demonstrate the presence of the Lord in greater ways. The glory of the Lord shines in and through us through the power of the Holy Spirit!

 

Our hearts are pure and we can be open to allowing the Holy Spirit to take over. We can host Almighty God! What an honor and opportunity! But this comes at a cost. Again like in planning a wedding you have to plan out the budget of the wedding and expenses. You have to evaluate what is important and what is not. You have to in a way “count the cost” by evaluating your wedding expenses. You spend your money on things that are important to you. Think of the things you did as a bride… This is much like our lives, as we host the presence of the Lord and we begin to allow him to take over every area of our lives.  There will be costs… we have to “count those costs”. We need wisdom like the five wise virgins had. We have to be willing for the Lord to highlight the areas that are blocking more of His presence in our lives.

 

What are those areas? I had to ask the Lord what they were in my own life? The Lord gave me three areas that have personally affected me in the past, and have at times “blocked me” from hosting the presence of Almighty God. There are plenty of others, so take some time and ask the Lord to reveal to you personally the specific areas that you need to count the costs.

 

TIME

Number one for me is TIME! Making the time DAILY for the Lord. If we want to be prepared and able to host His presence we have to make time for Him! This is the hardest thing for me sometimes.  I am a wife; mom of three children with schedules going in three different directions; and I have my own business and lots of brides to answer to! Like many of you I’m sure, I come barreling in on two wheels most of the time. Choosing daily to make the time with Jesus is something I have to do. I have to count the cost.  For me, when I start my day off right by spending that time with the Lord, it gives me the right perspective to handle the tasks of each day. If I want to be the best I can be in all those areas, I must be filled up daily! 

 

FRIENDS

How about our friends? Do we have friendships that keep us from walking closer with the Lord? We are women, and women need girlfriends… can I get an Amen? But let’s be wise with the friends we choose to walk alongside and invite into our lives.  Do you have those friends who are encouraging you in the Lord, like iron sharpening iron, or friends that tear you down and have a negative influence on your life? This is an area where the Lord really had to help me. I have had to evaluate some friendships that weren’t really healthy, some that were not encouraging me in the Lord, and ones that had me stuck in comparison and insecurity.

 

FEAR

Lastly is fear. This is a hard one. Do you ever think,I like my little life, all is good, we are just rocking along. It’s easy to sit in our little comfort zone and be content. This can be a huge block!  Sometimes we limit the Lord out of fear and complacency: “Oh Lord, someone else can do that better than me,” or how about: “Lord, I’m so busy, I’m just so worn out. I can’t go do that for you.”

 

The areas in which we have fear can be the very areas the Lord wants to pull us into! Trust me… He has had me in a season of facing my fears. He wants to push us out of fear for His glory! You never how He wants to use you until you are willing to step out.

 

These are areas that we need to resist the enemy in; areas that are keeping us blocked from hosting His presence. Take heart, the Lord promises that He will draw near to us when we draw near to Him.

 

We are waiting for His second coming. As we prepare with excellence for His return, as we host the presence of the Almighty, and as we long to see Jesus, may we wait patiently. Just like in the parable of the ten virgins, the delayed bridegroom was not uncommon, many times there were last minute negotiations between the bride and groom’s relatives over the terms of the marriage.

 

Will you come join in the procession? The Lord has planned the wedding banquet of all wedding banquets… one that He has been planning for years! It will be the most glorious, most beautiful celebration you will ever see! He is planning for you. Prepare yourself, live a life of excellence, host His presence and long for your King! When the Bridegroom comes, we will all say, just like the maids from back then, “Come, He is here, let us go meet Him!”

 

Mary Sanders is owner of Mary Me Brides. She has been in business for 11 years and has served many brides across the River Region. Mary is wife to Adam of 13 years and mom to her three children: Ross (11), Mary Townsend (10), and Drew (6).

Last modified on Thursday, 05 January 2017 12:59

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