The Spirit and the Bride Say, “Come!”
Fueling the pioneer’s drive to continue forward over every obstacle that stands in the way is the revelation of the divine romance of the Bridegroom and His bride. It’s true that love knows no distance—true love crosses any barrier and any border to be united with its lover.
“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).
In the deep recesses of every heart, Jesus whispers, “Come. Stop trying to fill the hole in your heart with things that cannot satisfy. Drink of My love and find true life.” A love relationship with Jesus is the foundation of your very life.
Jesus is the Bridegroom who ravishes His bride, the church, with His love. This same Jesus ravishes you with His love. Jesus wants a full-time bride—not some part-time girlfriend. To see yourself as part of a bridal company is not about gender but position—He longs to be with you as a bridegroom does with his bride! It is this joyful Jesus who, as a bridegroom, beckons you to follow Him as His beloved bride on the path of a pioneer.
The twenty-first-century pioneer is eager to respond to the winsome call of a joyful Jesus who said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:11, NAS).
Who is this person who calls you to Himself? It’s the festive Jesus who enjoys celebrating a wedding feast; the servant Jesus who prepares a seaside breakfast for His men; the masculine Jesus whom brawny fisherman follow unashamedly. It is the pure Jesus whom hypocritical leaders despise, and the joyful Jesus whose infectious smile melts the hearts of multitudes. The mere presence of this Jesus (while still in the womb!) brings joy. (See Luke 1:44.)
This Is The Jesus of My First Love
The Jesus I am describing is the Jesus who won my heart when I was much younger. After twenty years of emptiness, which included twelve years of religious schooling, as a young man I discovered that true Christianity is not based on religious rules. It is based on a living, dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ.
Up to that point in my life I had searched everywhere for peace and purpose. But then someone introduced me to Jesus. Scales lifted from my eyes, and I realized that Christianity was not about performance or production—it was about a Person! I was overwhelmed by the real Jesus of the Bible, and I embraced a relationship with the One who created me and laid down His life for me so I could experience His abundant life. (See John 10:10).
Over time, however, I strayed from my love relationship with Jesus. The tendency after experiencing a true revelation of Him is to replace intimacy with ministry, passion for the Lord of the work with production for the work of the Lord. At one time I enjoyed walking with Him in the “cool of the day”; then I endured working for Him in the crunch of the deadline. While Jesus was calling me back to emulating Mary, I was stuck mimicking Martha. (See Luke 10:38-42). I needed to discover Jesus again. I needed to leap off the treadmill of performance and pressure, back into the loving arms of the smiling Shepherd I once knew.
How about you? Are you enjoying your relationship with Jesus Christ, or have you slipped from sheer delight in Him to drudgery, activity and more and more ministry?
If your hunger to spend time communing with Jesus has decreased, if your experience of God’s faithfulness are limited to stories in the past or if you struggle continually to win the victory over the battles that stand in your way, you may need to rediscover Jesus, too. These are all symptoms of a heart grown cold.
Jesus spoke to a group of believers who became settled in their relationship with Him. In Revelation 2, Jesus spoke to the church of Ephesus:
“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love” (Revelation 2:2-4).
The Christians in Ephesus weren’t bad people. They opposed wickedness, they tested all teaching with the truth of God’s Word, and they refused to give up under persecution. From the outward appearance, these people would be considered solid Christians—and they were. Yet, Jesus said, “You have forsaken your first love.”
In order to move forward as spiritual pioneers, Jesus gave them these instructions: “Remember the height from that you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Rev. 2:5).
If you can identify with these solid believers, then this scripture gives three simple keys that will help rekindle your passion for Jesus.
Remember—Think back to the former days when you enjoyed the sweetness of Jesus’ presence and favor.
Repent—In prayer, confess that you have allowed yourself to stray from your first love. Ask for forgiveness, and choose to turn around and return to Jesus.
Repeat—Do again those simple things you did to cultivate your relationship with Jesus. Read your Bible, and spend consistent quality time with Him in worship, prayer and meditation. Remember He likes you, He longs for you—in spite of your shortcomings and sin.
Respond to His calling you as His bride, motivated not by guilt and pressure but rather by His deep-seated, passionate devotion to you! “We love [him] because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). What a joy it is to rediscover Jesus and be rekindled in bridal affection for Him as the “lover of our soul.”[Reprinted with permission from Reckless Abandon, available from Charisma House.]
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