Posts Tagged ‘the bride’s challenge’

Day Seventy-Five

Who Is — Always a Groomsman — Never a Bride?

“He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the groomsman who stands by and listens to him rejoices greatly and heartily on account of the bridegroom’s voice.  This then is my pleasure and joy, and it is now complete.”  Jn 3:29 Amp

            Prepare to be shaken!

John the Baptist is an amazingly provocative character who the Lord has used to showcase before me a decidedly challenging level of obedience.  It has caused me to wonder … do we (the Bride) have this kind of obedience in us towards the Lord.  If I may explain…

When we perceive the church today — there is visible an almost celebratory wave of exultant exuberance that is understandable – but the caution for us is that even that exuberance must be submitted to and before the One we serve as Lord and Master, and King of Kings.  Even our exuberant love must be obedient! And sometimes the requirements of obedience may curtail what we would like to do in the name of love.

Some examples before we look at John…

In his own wisdom and deep feeling for the Lord, Peter began to rebuke the Lord for speaking about going to the cross – and the Lord’s words to Him were, “… Get behind Me, Satan! For you do not have a mind intent on promoting what God wills, but what pleases men [you are not on God’s side, but that of men].”

            Loving God means being on God’s side – even at the cost of your own best ideas, or your emotional perspective on what it means to follow Christ.

            Moses was precluded from entering the Promised Land because of personal failure at the waters of Meribah.  To not enter the Promised Land had to be a horrendous blow and disappointment.  It had to be one of the hardest moments in his life, and even after much pleading God finally tells him,  “It is enough!”  So Moses is held back from the greatest desire of his heart – to go into the Promised Land.  Instead, he was led to pass his mantle of leadership to Joshua, and to go die after ascending Mount Nebo.

            Loving God means submission – even when that submission feels like it will kill you!  We must obey!

            Now the hardest incident, even harder than Moses, is John the Baptist.  Yet it is one I see that is saturated with the grace of God.  He has known Jesus in the flesh as his cousin.  He has known Him in the Spirit as His Lord.  But He will never know Him as part of the Bride.  Though John heralds the way for Jesus and harkens the ears of the Israelites to His coming, and is even chosen to close out the age prior to the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt 11:11), he will never be part of the bride of Christ.  This is disturbing, and foreign, and even awful as I look from the seat of one in the Body of Christ.  And yet, John effervesces in great grace he says – (identifying himself as the groomsman… “This then is my pleasure and joy, and it is now complete.”)

            This is an astounding display of grace, love, and obedience in being all that God calls you to be!  Even when it is less than you might desire.  Who could say they would be content with not being part of the Bride of Christ?  Yet John is joyful!  That is a dying to self that the Body of Christ needs to embrace. We must give over all that we dream of being in His service in obedience and submission to His call.

It begs the question… is this the stuff the Bride is yet made of?  Are we willing to be all that He calls us to be, even if that differs from what we desire or imagine?  Even if it meant His sacrifice on the Cross (like Peter), or not entering the Promised Land (like Moses), or not being a part of the Bride ( like John)?

            I am seeing that there are places where my faith and trust and submission must take me in obedience, where exuberance cannot go.

            Like Abraham laying his beloved son on the altar as a living sacrifice – we must lay not just some things, but ALL things down as well, with confidence that though we may not yet see it, the Lord knows what He is doing!  Even in the age to come there will be a place where souls are saved – yet they will not be part of the Bride, for we will already be raptured!

            My appreciation for what obedience cost these particular saints has skyrocketed as I have looked from this vantage point.  And yet, we the Bride should not be deceived … salvation cost the Lord Jesus everything, and us nothing. But a life of obedience to Him now that …

             will cost us everything – to live as His saints!


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