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Friday, July 18, 2008

The Bride of Christ

As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. (Is 62:5)

Paul tells us in Eph 5:32 that marriage is an illustration of the relationship between Christ and His church. Frequently the Old Testament prophets compare God's people with an unfaithful wife, and poor old Hosea is told to marry an adulteress as a demonstration of the prostitution of Israel with other gods.

In The Image
The power of the image of the unfaithful wife has been diminished in our culture. Adultery, divorce and remarriage, uncommitted relationships have become unremarkable because they are so common. The breakdown of marriage is not only desperately sad for the individuals involved, it does damage to our understanding of our relationship with Jesus, the Lover of our souls.

But there is another powerful image which can reveal something more of the relationship between the Lord and His people. It is the image of God in us. When He created humanity He said, "let us make man in our image." Every individual since, though created unique, has been born with the image of God stamped in them like the lettering through a stick of seaside rock. Each one of us has been made to reflect that image in a way no other person can.

Since we are uniquely different and individual in character, personality and spiritual qualities we have a unique place in the Bride of Christ. Without us the Body, of which we are a part, would not be complete. Without us there would be something missing from the beautiful Bride which the Father is preparing for His son. Without us the Bride would not be perfect.

Created to Ravish His Heart
In the Song of Songs the lover says, "you have ravished my heart, my sister my bride." Dare we believe that the Lord says this of His Bride. Of course, because no human love affair can come close to that between Jesus and His people. This is why God was so jealous over Israel's unfaithfulness. Always the heart of God is to woo back His people to Himself. He comes to you personally and lavishes His love on you. Why? Because you were uniquely created to be a part of His Bride and there is a place in His heart that can only ever be touched by you.

The Hole
There is, they say, a God-shaped hole in each of us that can only be filled with Jesus. I believe the uniqueness of every individual, whom God has created in His image, means that there is a you-shaped hole in the heart of God. When you give Him your heart, when you live your life for Him that hole is filled and He rejoices over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.

Prayer College Assignment
In John 14 we see Jesus first promising to prepare a place for His disciples and to come back for them, then telling them He and the Father will come and make their home with them. That sounds to me like a passionate desire in the Lord's heart to be in our company. Take some time to meditate on the fact that your uniqueness delights God's heart. Realise that your personal relationship with Him does not have to conform to anybody's norms. All He wants is for you to be yourself with Him and to allow Him to conform you to His perfect image.

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