Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Bad Bride

I have never been particularly keen on the idea of being the bride of Christ. Perhaps it is because I have never liked the idea of being a woman. Or maybe it is because as a prideful guy I don't enjoy thinking about someone else needing to be responsible for me, or protect me. Also, it is a strange dilemma for me – to have Christ taking the role in our relationship that I have always instinctively been drawn to.

In my relationships with other people, I find myself leading, or taking responsibility, protecting, or even teaching. But with Christ my role must be different.

I have suspected for some time now, that women must feel more comfortable with this analogy, simply because being the bride of Christ fits within their role in relationship with a husband. But when the husband becomes the bride, things change drastically. Suddenly, he can no longer display the qualities in a relationship that he has always felt were his to display. The leader must become a follower, the protector now needs protection, the teacher turns into a disciple.

Recently I have started to see the significance of being Christ's bride, and it has changed my perspective entirely. What a powerful idea it is that the Lord of heaven is betrothed – that the God of the universe has pledged himself to a chosen bride. What a joyous marriage feast that will be, and what a lucky, and undeserving bride! Just like a young Jewish girl, I am now anxious for my bridegroom to make his appearance, to celebrate his return, and then to be carried off to the home he is preparing for me.

However, in light of who my bridegroom is, I am also realizing what a horrible bride I am. And how I play loosely with Christ; He is unchanging, but other things steal my affection. He builds up, I cast down. I quarrel and fight against him, yet he still receives me. I continually stray from him, and forget that I am not my own. And still, he cares for me. Cares with the fine attention of a young man engaged to a beautiful maiden.

Slowly I begin to understand, that in order to be a good leader, I must first be a good follower. Modeling my life after this perfect man, that in all my relationships I may be but a picture of him. And a bride worthy of the bridegroom coming back for me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rainbows of Color

A favorite Christian idiom, is the idea that as Christians we are to be molded into the image of Christ. Until recently I thought this meant that as each individual became more spiritually mature, we would look ever more like Christ, and thus like each other.

However, we are told as young children that we are physically unique. Different than any other man, woman, or child on earth. That there is no single cell of us that is the same as any single cell of another. But perhaps the same is true of us in a spiritual sense. It seems that a God who designed us to be so completely unique in our physical bodies, would in the same way mold our spiritual nature as well. Making us, in our entirety, uniquely unique. Not simply different, but COMPLETELY different than anyone else.

This uniqueness would cause each individual to view the world, and God from a different perspective. If this is the case, when we strive to be molded into the image of His son, because of our unique spiritual nature we will not all look the same. We may all be 'like' Christ, but this Christ-likeness will take a different shape in each individual. It will be like seeing light through a prism; the colors of the rainbow. Jesus in every shape, size, and color. No two the same, and yet all perfectly as God desires them to be.

How true this idea rings with Christianity. That we are all members of One body, but that we all function as different parts. Gifted with unique abilities, personalities, and understandings of God - giving us something that only we can bring to the body of Christ. To the point that even in heaven we will add something to the kingdom that ONLY we have to add. An element that was given only to us.

The implications of this are far-reaching, because if it's true that when I look like Christ, and you look like Christ, it looks a little different. Why would I allow myself to get frustrated with those who don't hold the exact same theology as I do. That is the equivalent of saying, 'I wish all the colors of the rainbow were red.' When in fact, God is not simply okay with people viewing Him differently, He CREATED them that way. He desires each person's unique perspective and lifestyle.

God truly is great to receive glory from such a vast array of colors.