(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 3)
If you are like me and absolutely love Weddings, then you don’t need me to explain what a bridal or Wedding dress train is.
Nevertheless, for those who may be reading this Article and do not know, it is the piece of material that extends from the bride’s Wedding outfit and trails unto the floor. As the bride makes her way down the aisle to be joined with her groom, it glides behind, making for a truly beautiful sight to guests and the couple’s Photographer.
If you are a Christian, in that you genuinely believe that Jesus Christ is alive after having died and being raised again, you have asked him to forgive and cleanse you of all of your sins and you have made the best decision of your whole life by confessing with your mouth that he is Lord, then hopefully, you understand the real purpose of marriage and what God created this institution to signify.
As beautiful, glamorous and fun as Weddings tend to be, for Christians, God intended marriages to serve as an analogy in the natural, of the spiritual relationship of the Lord Jesus Christ (who the Bible describes as ‘the bridegroom’) and the Church (which the Bible describes as “the bride”).
The Church is the body of believers (not a building), who genuinely accepted Jesus Christ as Lord over all of their lives. The relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and the Church that he loves, died sacrificially for and redeemed to himself, is a love covenant and the Bible describes it this way. A marriage between two of God’s children was therefore intended by God to give us a natural glimpse into the spiritual beauty of what will take place in the future, when Jesus Christ returns for his bride, the Church, as he has promised to do and takes her to heaven.
If you are a genuine Christian therefore, you are a part of the Church which is Christ’s bride. It therefore follows, that how you live, the actions you take after you are saved and how you conduct yourself on this earth for Christ and all to see, can be likened to the bridal train that is clearly seen as sweeping the aisle behind the bride, as she walks elegantly up the aisle.
For you, the aisle is the aisle of life and each day, you take another step up that aisle with your bridal train sweeping behind you.
Now, not all bridal trains are made equal. Some are made out of cheap, tacky material, while others are made out of costly, precious material. The quality of the material usually determines how good the bridal train will look and how it will fit and how it will fall. People looking on, can usually tell if it is costly or if the bride was cheap.
Similarly, the quality of life that we live as Christians, can be likened to the quality of the material we use to make our bridal train. It is God’s desire, that we live the Christian life in such a way, that it does not just give off a good fragrance but adds precious value to our ‘bridal train’.
You can liken it to your legacy. When you have completed your walk through this life, what will heaven have to say about the quality of your bridal train? What did you use to build it? Did you build it with gossip, non-forgiveness, bitterness, envy, strife, competition, materialism, malice or sexual immorality or did you build it with RIGHTEOUS acts of love, your focus being on wowing your bridegroom when you get to the altar and the many guests observing your every move on your way to that destination?
Every bride wants to please her husband-to-be and tries to impress him with her ensemble on the Big Day. Are you doing the same for Christ, who you claim to love?
Motivated by our love for Jesus Christ (the bridegroom) and careful to create a good testimony by all who witness our lives, both on earth and in heaven, we can build the ‘bridal train’ of our lives, not with poor, useless material like hay and stubble but with precious stones, through good works and RIGHTEOUS actions, that we as Christians are called by God to perform, after we become saved.
In 1 Corinthians 3:10-13, Paul, in speaking to Christians, stated:
- “But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
Now this whole idea of the bridal train did not come from me. I was blessed to have have heard it from a Minister of the Word by the name of Mr. Dixon on the Harbour Light Radio Station and thought that I would write an Article on the issue.
The Minister referred to Christians who have been made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ. In discussing the high quality material that we should use to build the bridal train of our lives, he gave examples of the actions we should be engaged in and how we should be conducting ourselves while preparing for the Big Day of our Wedding (Meeting Jesus) under each of the letters of the word ‘R-I-G-H-T-E-O-U-S’.
I thought to myself, that the Minister was right! A bride’s aim ought to be to wow the bridegroom and those looking on, so the quality of the material she uses to build that train (her actions) is important.
A poor quality bridal train doesn’t mean that the groom would not marry her but the last thing a bride wants when she truly loves the groom is an underwhelmed, disappointed groom and one who is ashamed of her attire. The same applies to the bridal train of the Christian, who is a part of the Church that is the bride of Christ, the groom.
The meaning given to the word RIGHTEOUS by the Minister is listed below but the commentary paraphrased by me as follows:
- RESPONSES – We can respond to the problems, afflictions and situations that God brings or allows into our lives, in a positive way. Instead of complaining and doubting, we can continue to give God thanks and praise, fueled by our faith in Him and the fact that we know that he has our best interest at heart.
- INTERCESSION – Instead of selfishly praying only about our needs, wants and that of our family and loved ones, we should stand in the gap for others in prayer and intercede on their behalf before the Lord. We are all part of the body of Christ and we should therefore be sensitive to the needs of those who are suffering around us in the body of Christ and pray for them.
- GIVING – We should be alert to the needs of others, be it monetary or otherwise and where we are able, use what God has given to us to meet those needs by giving cheerfully, as unto God. We should also give faithfully unto God by giving not just to those around us in need but to the Church as well, so as to promote God’s Kingdom purposes.
- HOSPITALITY – Where possible, we should be hospitable and kindhearted to others, inviting them to our homes and providing meals for them, so as to communicate our love for them.
- TIME – We should use the time that God has given us wisely by redeeming it, especially given that the days are evil and will continue to get worse. We should invest the time that God has given us today, in HIS causes and HIS pursuits, so as to promote HIS Kingdom on earth, over and above us pursuing the things of this world which are going to pass one day. Only high quality material on that bridal train will be of significance in heaven. The hay and stubble of pursuing after riches, career, popularity and the like, will all fade away and have no lasting value when we leave this earth and are united with Jesus.
- EVANGELISM – Based on the commission given to all Christians by Jesus Christ, we should all evangelize with the opportunities that God allows to come our way each day, by reaching people with the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ.
- OFFERING – We should offer our selves unto God completely, to be used by him as he sees fit. We should be prepared to abandon our plans for our lives and ask the Lord to establish his plans and purposes for us, whatever that may be, wherever that may take us and within whatever time frame, even if where he wills that we go and his plan for us is not one that brings us comfort.
- UNIQUENESS – God has placed gifts and talents in all of his children and he desires that we uniquely operate in whatever sphere he has called us and with his spirit of excellence.
- SERVICE – We should have hearts of service, esteeming others better than our selves and always being prepared to reach out to someone to lend a helping hand when the opportunity presents itself and we are able. This may involve sacrificial service as well, where it costs us something or we may even have to give up something substantial in order to serve others in love.
If, like me, you are a Christian but have realized that you have failed to use precious material in some parts of your bridal train so far, why not use the opportunity, given that the Big Day has not yet arrived and your bridal train is still being crafted, to:
- Ask Jesus for forgiveness;
- Throw away any extra hay or stubble you still have and were planning to use on the remainder of your train;
- Make the investment by using gold, silver and precious stones to finish?
I can guarantee that if you do, your heavenly bridegroom, who is the lover of your soul, will be pleased. Your guests, who will witness your walk down the aisle and even those who will hear about it or see it on social media, will be sure to talk about the beauty of what you created for Jesus, for a long time to come.
Many will be touched by what you created and the full impact of what you have done, you may never even know in this lifetime.
All who see and hear about your bridal train, will have no doubt as to the high value you placed on your bridegroom (Jesus) and your love for Him.
(Written on 04th June, 2018)