The Bride eyes not her garment, but her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory, but on my King of grace.
The words of this old hymn help me. I picture a bride, beautiful, happy, excited — readied for her wedding day — walking down the aisle toward her bridegroom. Her eyes are only for him. And I think the author of the hymn’s beautiful visual meant this: Here, as we live on earth, we’re to rivet our eyes on Jesus, loving Him fully, not gazing at ourselves or worried over our own performance or acceptance (Col. 3:1, Heb. 12:2).
But the other day, after years of being helped by the words, an opposite thought struck me:
I am to gaze at my own garment.
Here, in the now, as we walk this earth, you and I had better be eyeing our garment. We’d better be readying ourselves for our Bridegroom’s arrival. We’d better be caring about whether we’re prepared to give an account before Him.
For as a bride prepares, with full hope that she’ll wow her bridegroom when she walks down her wedding day aisle toward him, we’re meant to be diligent, expectant, serious about Jesus’ expectations for us on that Day.
We’re to live each moment like we’re preparing for the Day of all Days. We’re to spend a lot of time concerned over the details of how we’ll please Him. A bride worries over each physical aspect of her dress, veil, shoes, bouquet and hair. She cares deeply about how she’ll look as she’s presented to her love at the wedding. And she should. She loves him. She wants to be beautiful for him. In that same way, we’re to labor over our spiritual fitness and readiness:
Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. (Phil. 2:12-13)
Work hard. Not to earn salvation, but to show forth the results of the salvation you’ve been given. Obey God. With deep reverence and fear, follow His instructions laid out for you in scripture. Inspect yourself, praying for the desire to do what pleases Him, and for the power to obey. Now is the time to eye your garment (Matthew 25:1-13).
For when the day of His return arrives, all eyes and hearts will be riveted toward the Bridegroom. The clouds will open. At the blaring sound of the battle trumpet, with the announcement of the arch angel, as the air is split by a commanding shout, the Lord will descend. Those who follow Him will be caught up with Him in the air, readied for the new heavens and the new earth. Readied for the wedding, the marriage supper of the Lamb (I Thess. 4:13-18, Rev. 19:5-16).
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready…Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
On that day, we’ll not see a longed-for human bridegroom, but face to face, we’ll see Jesus, our true Beloved One. So here’s the question we need to frequently ask:
Will I be ready for the wedding?
Hymn: The Sands of Time are Sinking, by Anne R. Cousin, 1857
Painting: The Wedding Morning, by John Henry Frederick Bacon, 1892