We agreed that neither of us would cry no matter what. I took a deep breath and began to walk down the aisle…I remember the sound of the song and the scent of my bouquet and the petals that guided my way. As soon as he locked eyes with me we both started to cry. I was so excited I wanted to run as fast as I could to meet him, but I resisted and appropriately paced my steps toward him. When I finally arrived, he took my hand and said through tender tears “the dress…it’s perfect. You…You’re perfect!” The indescribable joy that filled my heart in that moment that mattered so much to me does not compare to the joy that we will all experience at the wedding feast of the Lamb when Jesus Himself responds that He is pleased with His bride who has made herself ready.
Scripture is beautifully bursting with bridal references that outshine the beauty and significance of any love story I have ever heard. On the island of Patmos, John saw a vision of the end of this temporary life, and he even got a glimpse of our future in Paradise with our King. The relationship he describes us having with Jesus Himself in Revelation 19:7-8 is a joyful bride honoring her Groom celebrating in a beautiful white gown. We can prepare for that most glorious moment of our eternal lives by submissively rejoicing, giving our hearts wholly to Him, and mimicking His beautiful deeds on this side of eternity.
Rejoice in Our Groom
“Let us rejoice and give honor to Him” – verse 7a
One of the happiest days of my life was that day I walked down the aisle to my handsome husband. That day I joyfully chose him above every other man on earth. Before God, I vowed to honor him with bursting eager joy in my heart that exploded from my words through tears of pure gratitude. Most girls spend years dreaming about that day that we get to say “I do.” There is a day of greater significance that came before I said yes to my husband. I said yes to the Lord. There were years that He was the only Man in my life. The perfect Man who came to earth from Heaven to rescue me from the sorrow and sin that I was drowning in at the time. He gave His entire life for me and continues to be my first and greatest love. Have you joyfully chosen Him above everyone else? One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). As the bride He gave His life to save, we get to confess Jesus now and vow to be His. Imagine the perfect Man, Jesus, on one knee with a ring and a voice that sounds like refreshing, rushing waters asking, “will you marry me?” I encourage you to say yes today. Even if you have said yes to Him a million times, honor Him by saying yes again in His presence.
Prepare as His Bride
“and His bride has made herself ready” – verse 7b
Once we say yes to Him, intense preparation begins. I spent hours putting on makeup and fixing my hair the day I got married, but none of that would have mattered if I did not have my heart set on one man. Preparation to spend eternity with Jesus as our perfect groom begins internally. Before we can change anything about ourselves or our behavior, our hearts have to be given wholly to Him. If you give your heart completely to Jesus, you can rest assured that every decision to obey, even when it is difficult and seems completely foreign, will be absolutely worth it. Jesus is the perfect Groom who protects and nourishes our hearts. He fills us with joy and peace, and He is preparing a glorious place for us to spend eternity with Him. As He prepares a place for us in Heaven, we have the elite honor of preparing for that day by giving Him our whole heart. I saw a cute Christian cartoon once of a little girl holding her tiny heart looking up at Jesus with big, batty eyes. She said, “its all I have.” He responded, “it’s all I want.” Saying we are His is not enough. He tests and knows our hearts. Give Him your whole heart today. It’s all He wants.
Enjoy Our Wedding Gift
“it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure” – verse 8
Once we joyfully honor Him by saying yes to His proposal and giving Him our hearts, He begins to do a work in us that is evident on the outside. God gives us everything we need on this earth for good works He prepares in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10, 2 Peter 1:3). I love the beautiful order of this Scripture…that we don’t modify our behavior so that He will accept us, but that our acceptance by Him changes even our actions. When you love Him with your whole heart, obedience becomes a grateful response to the love He lavishes on us. Jesus said that when we love Him, we will obey Him. Loving Him first opens our hearts to receive His instruction as a wedding gift that we get to enjoy every day. He never intended for us to be robots who mindlessly, emotionlessly do what He says. His intention is for us to be His beautiful bride dressed in white linen clothed in good deeds that spring from loving Him first.
When we see Him on that final day, I can only imagine the smile on His face when there are no more tears. I imagine He will look at us the way my husband looked at me and say “the dress… it’s perfect. You…you’re perfect.” We will know in our hearts that those words come because on this side of eternity, we loved Him first – we joyfully honored, surrendered our hearts, and obeyed out of love.
Dear Jesus, thank You for paying the ultimate price and giving Your life for me to be Your bride. I say YES again today to the beautiful invitation that Your resurrection made for me. I give You my whole heart and trust You with every part of me. Help me to obey out of love and gratitude until that final day.