Bridal Gown

(Note: This article was written when I was married.) My wife and I recently celebrated our seven month wedding anniversary. But we don't celebrate our love on just wedding anniversaries. Every day is a celebration of our love for each other, as we build a wonderful new world together. Every day is a celebration of the new life we now share.

I can think of many examples of how my wife and I work as a team. Actually, we work together better than a team because we each put the desires of the other person ahead of our own desires. Just like that old cliche‚ says, we are always there for each other. We share both the good times and the bad times. And we don't have to explain to the other person why we need to be loved and supported. We don't have to justify taking the other person's time. It is a given that we have already chosen to spend our time and our lives together. We have already chosen to bare our souls to each other.

It is really amazing how my wife and I think of the other person as our "other half", or as an extension of ourselves. We are no longer two separate people. We are one in the sight of God. Everything seems so natural that we do many things without even thinking about it. We will be sitting on the couch and realize we are holding hands. But we can't remember who reached out to the other person first, or when our hands first met. The same thing is true when one of us puts his/her arm around the other person. We don't think about it, we just do it. It is all natural. It is all accepted. And even when we are separated from each other, we always feel like the other person is still very near, lending his/her strength, support, and encouragement.

I am beginning to understand why people in the Bible made such a big deal out of wedding celebrations. It wasn't the wedding ceremony they were celebrating, but the new life of happiness the bridegroom and his bride would be sharing together. They would no longer be lonely, or separated from each other. So now when I think about how the Bible refers to Christ as the bridegroom and the church as His bride, I understand better why that will be cause for celebration. We will not be celebrating the actual wedding, we will be celebrating the new life we will be sharing in Heaven, where we will no longer be separated from God.

Note our minister's sermon "The Watcher" (Eze 33:1-20). Christians are watchers. We are to "watch out" for Satan. And we are to "look after" unbelievers who need to be taught to "look out" for Satan. Christians have a responsibility to tell unbelievers to turn from their sinful ways and to lead them away from their sin. We must teach them.

But don't start looking for a devil around every corner; the worst demon a Christian ever faces may be himself. We Christians keep ourselves so busy doing the "Lord's work" (as we define it), that we have no time to look after unbelievers. We rationalize that we cannot reach out to unbelievers because we are too busy running our church. We use the needs of our church as an excuse to "preempt" ourselves from considering the needs of unbelievers. We use our time making our church and its programs pleasing to the eyes of man, instead of making our lives and our church an acceptable sacrifice to God.

Wedding guests in the Bible were given wedding clothes to wear. (Mt 22:1-14) And the bride (the church) was given fine linen, white and clean to wear. (Rev 19:7-8) We do not need to waste time in this world worrying about what we will wear in the next world. Whatever we need will be provided for us. So when the bridegroom Christ comes to claim His bride, He will not choose His bride based on how spotless and freshly pressed her elaborate gown is. He will not choose a bride who has decided to dress herself ahead of time, and then avoid work that might tarnish her pristine image.

Christ will choose the bride who has the sense to dress for the task at hand. Christ will choose the bride who has the guts to roll up her sleeves and jump into the world, allowing herself to get soiled, wrinkled, and sweaty. Christ will choose the bride who has enough love and compassion in her heart to reach out to a hurting world, bringing it the message of hope, healing, and forgiveness only Christ offers.

You may be involved in activities that are vitally important to our congregation. But please don't spend so much time managing the internal affairs of our church that you fail to realize that there are unbelievers that need to be drawn into our congregation. Don't hide all your talents away in our church. There is a whole world of people out there crying out for you to lead them into our church.

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