Originally published Monday, 12 May 2014.
I glance down at my engagement ring, and the reality of marriage becomes all the more real in this moment. Last week, I had my last bridal fitting. As of today, all of my bridal showers have passed. And in the weeks to come, the celebrations and preparations will continue - until that culminating day when my fiancé and I are united in Christ, till death do us part.
Needless to say, this is an exciting season! Who doesn't love experiencing the wonder of a wedding ceremony? Some of my favorite chick flicks are those revolving around marriage because the lead-up scenes usually narrate the exciting process: the rise and fall of human emotions, relationships galore (both good and not-so-good), and all the fun and harried tasks that pull the ceremony together.
Think "Father of the Bride," and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. The engagement season is certainly wonderful but does not come without its accompanying challenges.
What amazes me most - and what I pray continues to floor us, Christian women - is that our preparation for the marriage supper of the Lamb is magnified through the worldly illustration of engagement, leading to earthly marriage.
Glancing at my engagement ring reminds me that, just as my fiancé has given it to me as a promise of his intent to marry me, so the Holy Spirit has been given to Christians as a deposit for our eternal inheritance. Christ is coming back! This means that we are in an exciting, challenging season of preparation for what's to come: worshipping Christ unceasingly together in the new heavens and the new earth.
If you have trusted Christ as Lord and Savior, then you've been gifted an eternal "engagement ring":
"In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:14).
The tension lies in the phrase "until we acquire possession of it." My fiancé and I have felt such a difficult (sometimes plain frustrating) tension in this time of waiting for our marriage. We have made the decision to marry, but we have not yet acquired possession of the unity of marriage in Christ. So we wait expectantly, depending on God's strength as we seek to live pure, upright and holy lives.
The same is true of us, friends, as we await the marriage supper of the Lamb. We have not yet seen Christ in His glorious coming, but we know He most certainly will come! So we live in the tension between the now-but-not-yet. We are ready in our souls: "Come, Lord Jesus," we cry! But there is much preparation to undergo before that time arrives, and no one knows when it will take place.
Praise God that He has given us everything we need for life and godliness as we wait and grow and anticipate. We also rejoice that sin will have no dominion over us, since we are not under law but under grace (Romans 6:14).
I love what encouragement Peter gives us:
"Since [the earth and the works that are done in it] are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (2 Peter 3:11-13).
Friends, what will you do with this time of holy preparation, knowing the Holy Spirit lives in you as a guarantee of what's to come? Will you prepare for eternity with Christ by pursuing godliness right now? Will you trust in His grace to defeat the sin in your life each and every day? Will you say "No" to worldly passions and pursuits in favor of pleasing the One who will someday take you home to be with Him where He is? Will you wait in joyful expectation of your eternity with Christ, where righteousness dwells?
May our lives proclaim "Come, Lord Jesus!" as we anticipate in eagerness, plan in preparation, and yearn for the day when the marriage supper of the Lamb is ours to celebrate in Christ!
O Holy Father, We yearn for that day! Come, Lord Jesus, we cry. Prepare our hearts now, even as we wait for you to take us into glory, to fulfill your promise. Thank you that in Christ we have received an eternal inheritance, imperishable and unfading. May our desire for you and our devotion to you increase each day, as you make us more like your Son.
View this post over at The Identity Project.