JUNE--Month for fulfilled love and hope as two hearts meld

Father has been honored on his special June day, and now
he is expected to "give away" his daughter to some young
fellow who doesn't seem to know up from down (in her
father's eyes) and is not nearly good enough for his precious
jewel that he has reared to be the wife of a successful doctor,
lawyer or chief!

What's a father to do? Most likely, he'll do as most other fathers
do--release his lovely daughter to the young man of her choosing
and hope for the best! At the altar, the nervous groom will meet
the lovely bride who has spent much time, effort and (dad's) money
to prepare herself for this moment.

Spiritually speaking, the church has been called the bride
 of Christ. What is His bride doing to make herself ready
for the "marriage supper of the Lamb"? (Revelation 19:7-9).
Like the bride in Matthew's story (chapter 25) who did
not know exactly when her groom would come for her,
so the bride of Christ (the church) does not know the arrival
time of her groom (Christ).

Matthew recorded that the bride's attendants were waiting
for the groom's arrival. Some were prepared to wait as
 long as necessary, while others were not so prepared and
missed out on the wedding procession,
But the bride was patiently waiting. What about the bride of
  Christ? Are we waiting patiently, fully prepared for his arrival?

Revelation 19:7 says the the bride "made herself ready."
What can the bride of Christ do to make herself ready, and
what rule of conduct can she observe to remain chaste and
pure for her groom? I know that Proverbs 31 is not usually
referenced to as a guideline for the bride of Christ, but it seems
 to fit the criteria for a "chaste bride" waiting for her groom.

Looking at some of the attributes of a "virtuous woman" in this
scripture can be applicable to the waiting bride of Christ. The Bible
leaves no doubt that Christ is coming back for a "virtuous woman"
(church), His bride "without spot or wrinkle" (1 Peter 1:19).

(Keep in mind that betrothal created a bride and groom and was a
binding contract dissolvable only by divorce.)

Proverbs 31:10-31 -
The Virtuous Woman (Bride for Christ):
:10 She has more value than rubies. She is so valuable that
nothing less than the blood of Christ can redeem her.
:11 His heart trusts her. She is trustworthy because Christ
has given her His nature. He has given her His great
treasure in her "earthen vessel"
(2 Corinthians 4:7) and enabled her to keep it safely by
the power of the Holy Ghost. He will have "great gain"
because she will be actively engaged in His business.

:12 She "does him good and not evil." The Holy Spirit has
cultivated the fruit of the Spirit in her life (Galatians 5:22- 23).

:13 She seeks ways to help His cause and His family. She
"works with her hands" and doesn't shirk her responsibility
 toward His family (church) and His work (the gospel).

:14 She looks for ways to send merchandise to far places.
She promotes the gospel and obeys the command to "go
 into all the world and preach the gospel" (Mark 16:15).

:15 She does not discriminate; she includes provision for her "maidens" (servants) as well as for her household.
 She knows that Christ died for all, no exceptions.
Marking off the days, waiting for the groom, making
 preparations, leaving nothing to chance,
the bride is ready for the groom's arrival.

:16 She is industrious, not a sluggard. She is a good steward
(She considers a field, buys it, makes a vineyard and creates
a prosperous business). Planting indicates she is planning and
is prepared for the future. Her groom wants her to "occupy"
until He comes, to work as if she will have a long wait and live
as if He will come for her today.

:17 She strengthens herself. She doesn't neglect her well-being.
She is "strengthened with might through His spirit"
(Ephesians 3:16),
and she knows she can "do all things through Christ"
who strengthens her (Philippians 4:13).

:18 She knows her "merchandise" is good. It is a pearl of
great price. She keeps careful watch over it ("her lamp
doesn't go out"). She lets  her light shine so that her
groom is visible to all.

:19 She makes use of what she has--yarn, spindle, etc. She uses
 her talents faithfully to honor her groom.

:20 She remembers the poor and needy and helps them.
She knows we will always have the poor with us. She sees
an opportunity to do something "as unto the Lord" and does it.

:21 She is faithful "in season, out of season." Even in hard
times (snow), her household is clothed in scarlet
(expensive fabric). She wants the best for her family.
The bride's love is expressed toward her family (church)
by giving her finest wares in her groom's name.

:22 She also expects the best for herself. She is clothed in
"fine linen and purple (also expensive)." The groom (Christ) owns "the cattle on a thousand hills" and He wants His bride to be
 adorned with His fine robe (of righteousness). She understands
He paid a very high price for it -- His life. He wants her to
prosper and be in health "even as her soul prospers."
(3 John :2).

:23 She is mindful of her influence. "In the gates" was a
place of importance where transactions and leadership actions
took place. She knew she could be a good influence or a
bad influence on the progress of her groom's business
(spreading the gospel to the world). She chose the good.

:24 She is always alert for opportunities to complement her
groom's investments. The bride watches for opportunities to
 make the name of her groom known and respected to
further the work of His Kingdom.

:25 Strength (in the Power of His might) and honor
(uprightness) cover her and give promise of eternal
riches to come.

:26 She keeps close watch on her heart and her mouth,
because she knows "out of the heart the mouth speaks."
 She demonstrates the fruit of the Spirit and lives by
the law of kindness.

:27 She watches her household. She recognizes and accepts
the responsibility she has for others. She is not idle, but
 watches, prays and stays sober minded while waiting for
 her groom to come, claim her as His bride and
consummate the marriage.

:28 She has taught the way of righteousness to her household to
avoid rebellion and receives praise from her betrothed.
She longs to hear His "Well done!"

:29 She has done well, because she put her trust
in His strength.

:30 Charm and beauty are superficial and will fade and deceive,
 but she has chosen to put her trust in her beloved. She knows
 that any efforts she has put forth for her groom will be worth
 His acceptance when He comes to take  her to
His eternal Kingdom.

:31 She will reap the harvest of the fruit of her hands.
"In the gates" (a place of authority) she will honored. Her
groom has given her His name and the authority it represents.
 She has been faithful over a few
things and is now ready to be made ruler over many.

Who can find a virtuous woman? Christ can when He comes to
claim His bride to forever be at His side. How can He be
assured He has a virtuous woman for His bride? He made
it possible Himself by giving her His righteousness. She
accepted His graciousness and has made herself ready.
She waits with great expectation for her groom's arrival,
knowing that the marriage supper has
been prepared for her.

Delores Adams
Copyrighted. All rights reserved.

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