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Chapter 10. The Bride

God is conforming us to the ”image” of His son. He isn’t conforming us into His son. God doesn’t want a bunch of clones of His son running around Heaven with Him for all eternity. I like to say “God don’t want no Stepford wives in Heaven.” He created each of us unique and with a will. That means we can walk away from God at any time, even in Heaven.

Jesus is looking to us as bride material, worthy to spend eternity with Him as His bride. There are two aspects of the Bride that make her worthy:
1. She must be willing to prepare herself. (Rev. 21:2). Perhaps a better way of saying this is: “She must be willing to let herself be prepared.” This is a deliberate act of her will. It is the mindset of living in this life as a pilgrim passing through. This earth is not her home.
2. She must allow herself to be tested in the wilderness. (Song of Solomon 8:5.) Wildernesses are places of testing. The maiden comes out of the wilderness “leaning on her bridegroom.” This testing is not to prove she is worthy. Rather it is to show her that Jesus is worthy of her choosing of her own free will to be dependent on Him and be with Him for all eternity. She has let Jesus bring her through the sufferings and hardships in the wilderness.

How does the Bride let herself be prepared? By learning to lean on her lover in the wilderness. It is as we allow Jesus to take us through hardships and sufferings that we learn not how to stand on our own, but how to lean only on Jesus and never on “our” faith or our abilities. We learn that God and Jesus are who they say they are: Faithful and True. It is this free-will choice of leaning that prepares us to become a beautiful bride, clothed in Jesus’ adornments.

Some earthly brides want to get married for money, or from an initial rush of “love,” or whatever. But until she is poor or the initial rush of emotion is over, she wouldn’t know if she still wanted to be married. It takes going through hardships together that the bride really knows the groom is faithful and true. Then the bride knows she will never leave the groom.  Same for the heavenly Bride:  she knows she can leave but stays because she has learned God’s and Jesus’ nature by going through tests.

A personal note: When I first had the thought that the Bride stays married knowing she could leave, it has made me love God and Jesus more, not less.

I need to end this chapter on a serious note: do we have a bride's mentality? I feel the way to be the Bride we're talking about in this chapter is to start having a bride's mentality. When someone is in love, the person they love is all they think or talk about. (Are God and Jesus all we think or talk about?) It's who they want to be with. (Do we eagerly find times during the day to get into God's presence?) They want to know all about the person they love. (Do we devour the Bible?) I see so many Christians who seem to see Jesus as their Savior, but not their bridegroom. It may automatically happen in Heaven. We may all fall in love with Jesus when we see Him face-to-face. But as this chapter covered earlier, there are indications that the bride is to prepare herself now, today. Perhaps the Bride of Jesus in Heaven is those who had a bride mentality on Earth. I don't know. But I encourage each of us to seek that mentality now.

Caution: The bride concept is a one-on-one relationship between each individual believer and Jesus. If you run into a church or group whose main purpose is the bride, run away. That is fertile ground for cults.

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