She is a beautiful girl. I’ve seen pictures of her dress and it’s gorgeous. I’ve seen the bridesmaid dresses, by picture only. I look forward to actually seeing the wedding take place. The event is formal. The colors are gold and black. She has very nice taste in design and clothing, so I get the impression that the wedding will be incredible.
I too am planning a wedding. Today I also get to get my dress fitted and start the alteration process. I have had my dress hanging in my room for about two months… patiently waiting. I’ve tried it on a total of three times… just because!
Kassie and my weddings will be as different as night and day. Literally, one is evening time, one is in the middle of the afternoon. One is formal, one is fairly informal. And yet, there are some elements that are very distinct, common, and similar for not only us, but all brides. We both sought out the “perfect” dress. Hers is white. Mine is ivory. Hers has beading and a glitzy mid-line. Mine has lace overlay. We both found accessories to accompany our dresses — the stand out dress being made even more lovely by the earrings, necklaces, shoes, and even the hidden (but oh so important to “proper fitting and shape”) undergarments. We both found ways to wear our hair; makeup is being experimented with to find the best look for the event. Lots of planning, effort, and time go into the appearance of the bride!
Trust me, the details of weddings can be crazy, overwhelming, and expensive! I don’t want to even tell you the price of veils! But, the final look is a beautiful bride, decked out for her groom. And to be honest, I’ve yet to meet a bride who is not stunning!
So in the midst of wedding planning, preparing to attend a wedding, and thinking over all the changes that come when two people marry and become one, I was reminded of some verses I studied when I learned about covenants in the Bible. God teaches all about covenants in the Bible because they are important! But one key aspect of a covenant is the exchange of “selves.” In other words, “what’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is mine.” Conceptually most brides and grooms think of this: our cars, our stuff, our money, our things. But, in essence it goes deeper. His joys become hers. His struggles and trials become hers. Her insecurities matter to him. Her worst fears become important to him. And deeper still, God says, “the two become one flesh.” Aside from the obvious physical celebration in marriages, each couple “belongs” to each other. Each couple becomes a representation of each other, both for good and bad.
If a person has asked Christ to save them from their sins, they enter a covenant with God. This is Christianity. And the incredible thing is, that essential to covenants is the exchange of each other. Christ Jesus became flesh and blood. He took on humanity! He walked life. He knew physical pain, tiredness, hunger, emotions, joys, feelings. He enjoyed eating, laughing, and perhaps even fishing! He knew achy muscles (he was a carpenter after all, and he did walk everywhere he went.) We are told he knows death. He does not just understand the hardship of losing a loved one, Jesus himself had nails pounded into his wrists, a crown of thorns jammed into his forehead, and his back was whipped. He knows pain. He knows death. He knows humanity.
Now, the astounding thought: If we exchange ourselves due to the nature of covenant, what do we get if Christ got our humanity? The incredible thing is, we get righteousness! (That is simply a fancy word for being in right standing before God!). Isaiah tells us: ” I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness. As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10). We can rejoice because we’ve been clothed with salvation and wrapped in righteousness. That is the beautiful exchange.
But, look at that verse again. It says “as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland” and “as a bride adorns herself with jewels.” Remember I was talking earlier about the wedding dress, the preparation, the details of brides here on this earth. This verse greatly encourages me. When we enter covenant with God, He doesn’t halfheartedly grant us righteousness and salvation. It is as a bridegroom/bride. The analogy is one of great precision, care, and effort. No bride or groom throws on wrinkled clothes, wears faded pants, or doesn’t brush their teeth! Rather, each detail from the color of the cummerbund and bow tie, to the type of undergarments needed to make the dress fit best, as well as shoes shined and jewelry chosen are exact. The bride and groom are two examples of perfectly groomed, picture-ready people!
If this is the amount of care taken when getting ready for a wedding, isn’t it an incredible thought that that is the analogy used to describe how God clothes us with salvation and righteousness. Entering covenant with Him is incredible! We get to have the Holy Spirit dwell within us, and that is the source of us being in right standing before God! When we cultivate righteousness in our lives with the same enthusiasm as a bride getting ready for “the big day,” we are getting ourselves ready for the ultimate wedding — the bride of Christ (that is the term used to describe the church or the collective group of people called Christians) and Jesus himself. When He returns, will his bride be ready? Let’s press on to ready ourselves, perfecting holiness out of fear of God!