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.