For those of us who have been engaged to be married, the phrase ‘the bridegroom cometh’ brings fond memories of love and anticipation. We remember those halcyon days following his proposal and our acceptance. The days of dreaming and planning our wedding and our future together. We gush over dresses and patterns and flowers and guest lists. We beam!
In our soon-to-be-wed bliss our thoughts are of the bridegroom and our future. We don’t look back on our past or his. We look forward with eager anticipation to the day we become one unit. And in all of that anticipation and excitement and planning, we do not turn our eyes to another. Our hearts are steadfast for him and him alone, and we will not be deceived into believing another’s lies or enticements. We are faithful. We are adoring. We are in a constant state of preparation and readiness. For, after all, our bridegroom cometh!
These thoughts came to me today as I read 2 Timothy 2:5 – “… if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” Don’t see the connection? Let me explain….
Jesus said that he is returning for a spotless bride. (Ephesians 5:27—“that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Now a bride without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish, requires some effort. Surely, as the bride, we do not allow ourselves to ‘go to seed’. Of course not! We groom ourselves, constantly looking out for anything that might mar the coming special day. All blemishes must be vanquished! Nails perfectly manicured, hair expertly coifed. Our garments are clean, spotless, and pressed. That is a bride preparing herself for her groom. And that is what Jesus expects us to be doing now. Preparing ourselves for our groom.
He has made the offer of marriage. We have accepted His proposal and He has given us His ‘engagement ring’ so to speak — the Holy Spirit. Now we who are sealed with the Holy Spirit of His promise must prepare ourselves as we eagerly await His coming.
So how does the soon-to-be bride of Christ prepare herself? Look again at 2 Timothy 2:5 — if you are in a race, you have to run that race according to the rules of the race. So, too, must the bride of Christ run the race set before her according to the rules Christ has already given her in the Holy Scriptures. It isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes it is downright hard to make our will conform to His Word. It is, however, ALWAYS rewarding.
I have heard some people say they are on the ‘grace’ plan. They can’t (translate that to won’t) do everything Christ has said so they are just believing they are saved by grace and can live any way they choose. The fact is, we are ALL saved by grace. Yet we who belong to Christ are commanded to live our lives in a way that honors and glorifies GOD, not ourselves. And we do it to obtain a crown –2 Timothy 2:5 – “… if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”
Beloved, Jesus Christ is coming in the clouds very soon to call His bride unto Himself. He won’t waste time coming all the way to earth. He is simply going to gather those who truly belong to Him to come to the wedding feast He is preparing. And there we shall ever be with Him. So let me encourage you today to live for Christ. Obey His command to love God with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength, and to love everyone else as much and in the same manner as you love yourself. Forgive. Encourage. Give of your time, treasure and talents to build the Kingdom of God.
REVELATION 22:20 …Surely I come quickly.