The Beauty of a Bride

1 Peter 3:3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment.

Like any bride I wanted to look my very best on my wedding day. My shoulders were tanned carefully to avoid stripes over my shoulders. My arms sculpted precisely to avoid any unwelcome movement. My hair cut, colored and coiffed. My makeup applied and reapplied. When my would-be husband peered down the aisle, I wanted him to see the very best version of myself.

Today's passage is Revelation 19. Babylon has fallen and all heaven celebrates. Jesus' bride, the church, stands ready to meet her groom. She too has taken care in her presentation. Her preparation spanned centuries and millennia. At last she is adorned in fine linen to walk down the aisle to her intended.

The preparation for marriage in most modern cultures is focused on the outward beauty of the bride. Painstaking measures are taken to ensure that every detail of her appearance and wardrobe exudes beauty. What is striking about this scripture is not that the church is adorned in fine linen but rather what that fabric represents. "Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints." (Verse 8)

Jesus is not concerned with the outward appearance of His bride. He is captivated by the beauty of her heart. Jesus is not impressed with our adornment. He is concerned with our substance not our shell. The ultimate beauty regiment in the eyes of God are acts of kindness, love and self-sacrifice.

The mother who rises early to feed her children a warm breakfast. The father who empties his pockets out of compassion each morning on his walk to his office. The family who always has room for one more at the dinner table. The single mother who buys coffee for the men who wait in the rain for day labor. When Jesus peers down the aisle at His bride, He sees us draped in these moments.

Jesus, You have given the gift of Your church to this lost and dying world. Like any gift, the packaging should be attractive to entice its opening. However, a package encased in the finest trappings but containing nothing is a sore disappointment. Today may my actions shout, "Come Lord Jesus. Your bride is making herself ready."

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