Two significant images used throughout the Bible reflecting our relationship with God are the relationships between a parent/child and a husband/wife. As we prepare to host the marriage conference this weekend, I’m reminded of the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. Whether we are married or single, we are awaiting the big wedding day when we shall meet Jesus face to face. We, as the Church, are the Bride of Christ, as Christ is our Bridegroom. So how are we preparing to meet our Bridegroom? Are we ready for Jesus?
In the parable it mentions the distinction between foolish and wise virgins. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise took oil in jars along with their lamps. Then as they were waiting for the bridegroom, the virgins all fell asleep. The wise virgins were all prepared and ready to go in to the wedding banquet with the bridegroom. However, the foolish virgins wanted to borrow oil from the wise and later went to buy oil for themselves, but there wasn’t enough time. Then Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you”. (Matt 25:12).
Being a Christian is hard work. God gave us the free gift of salvation, but we are called to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12) Spiritual growth and preparation doesn’t happen automatically. In the text we see that all ten virgins are dressed up and waiting. All ten have made themselves available. All ten have progressed to a specific part of the journey. They are all prepared to be bridesmaids to help with the celebrations of the bride. But only five of them make it to the wedding feast. So what went wrong?
What went wrong was that five of the women were not prepared for the long-haul. They had made a life choice, in their case a simple life choice of not getting extra oil, and as a result they miss out on the important part of the journey. Spiritual growth doesn’t happen automatically. You cannot depend on a Sunday morning service to provide all your spiritual needs. Strength in the Lord comes through routine attention to ordinary spiritual disciplines.You make it in for the long-haul by taking time for prayer and being alone with God; reading God’s Word; acts of service to others; and loving obedience. It’s you making sure you have enough oil, the spiritual fuel of life.
Jesus loves us as we are. He knows we fall short. He is aware of all our needs and He fills them. He accepts our brokenness and mess, but He turns it into something beautiful as we give ourselves to Him. He doesn’t want us to stay the same!
Spiritual preparation and growth flows out of a transformed heart. It is possible to look like a Christian, talk like a Christian, carry a Bible and desire to go to heaven like a Christian and yet ultimately be unprepared. The reason these things happen is because we can have a Christianity which is only on the surface. There can be times when we do not allow our relationship with Jesus to penetrate who we are and change the way we live.
Our heavenly marriage, our relationship with Christ takes work, as well as those of us who are married here on earth, it all takes work. Whether you are single or married, relationships take work. I encourage you to be a part of a life group here at Crosswalk or start a life group by gathering people together to meet with regulary. We need to sharpen one another and prepare for Jesus when we see Him.
Lastly, please be praying for the marriage conference this Saturday as we gather at least 165 people and 40 kids. There are married couples as well as singles and divorced, no matter what life situation you’re in, this would be a great time to learn more about yourself and how to do relationships right as God calls us to love others as we love ourselves. You can still register at www.howwelove429.eventbrite.com.
Preparing with you for our Bridegroom Jesus,