Hi friends, Ann here.
I remember, as a 5-year-old girl, being mesmerized by the wedding of Lady Diana and Prince Charles of England in 1981. Little girls are funny like that. They can be the ultimate dreamers. Knowing this, my mum bought me a little hard-backed book about the wedding and I would pore over it.
Now, sometimes God romances us. I’d forgotten about that little book, but last night he brought it back to me by popping images of Lady Di's dress into my head. He seemed to be saying, “Remember this? Remember how much you liked it?” It was a sweet Father-God moment. "You're still that little girl to me."
Every detail of Lady Di's preparation was exquisite. It surely brings to life what it means when the Bible says Jesus is preparing for himself a glorious 'bride' (Ephesians 5:25-27).
It also brings to life a lesser known passage in scripture that has recently caught my attention. Ezekiel 16:9-13 describes the care that God takes when he is preparing a people who are his. It's worth reading a few times over:
“ ‘I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine’ says the Lord God. 'Then I washed you in water; yes I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil. I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with linen and covered you with silk. I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty' ” (Ezekiel 16:9-13, NKJV)
Sadly, this passage is followed by a description of how God’s people turned their back and it is yet another caution to us. As I said on Monday, 'Help us, Jesus!' But for today's post I think this scripture is a great one for illustrating the amount of effort and care Jesus puts into our beauty.
Often we won't see what Jesus is doing. During this COVID time, for example, we're having tough tests. But in it I am sure he is adorning us in different ways. He might be strengthening our faith, sharpening our eyes, refining our tongues, softening us in our mercy towards others, or making us more obedient. All of this happens through a shaking. Whatever needs doing in our faith lives, he will be doing it. If we yield to it, we will come out more beautiful than before.
As for our marriages, is there a lesson there? Well, it tells me that if Jesus makes that much effort to make me beautiful, shouldn't I also put the same effort into my husband?
What effort can I make? Here are a few thoughts that spring to my mind from scripture:
1. Pray for him every single day (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
2. Respect him with the words I speak to and about him (1 Peter 3:1-2)
3. Bless him with the words I speak about him (James 3:1-10)
4. Bring him truth with wisdom and kindness (Proverbs 31:14 & 26)
For sure, none of these points are easy because marriage is a place of growth. But with Jesus Christ adorning us and propping us up, we can give this thing a good go.
How else can we put effort into our spouse’s spiritual life? I would love to hear your ideas in the comments.