The Position of Bridal Identity

THE AUTHORITY OF THE SONS OF GOD
As sons of God, we are in a position to experience God’s throne—in other words, His power and authority. We are all sons of God, men and women. As the Bride of Christ, we are in a position to experience His heart.
As sons, we experience His throne, His power; as the Bride, we experience His heart, His emotions. These are two descriptive titles in the Bible that describe our relationship to the Father. Both of these identities transcend gender.
MEN AND WOMEN AS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST
In the same way that women are sons of God, so men are the Bride of Christ. It’s bigger than gender. It’s not talking about being male and female, it’s a position of privilege; it’s a position in our inheritance.
Most women that I know in the Body of Christ understand the message of the sons of God and power. They don’t struggle with being sons of God, because they don’t see it as a call to be less feminine. They see it as a call to experience God’s power, His throne. The sons inherit the throne. However, men really struggle with the “Bride of Christ” message. They automatically conclude, in a wrong way, that it’s a call to be less masculine. The women get it right, but the men are confused.
THE REALITY OF BRIDAL LOVE IN HISTORY
 
Some of the greatest men of God in history experienced the reality of the bridal identity and the bridal relationship, even though they didn’t use the word bride. John the Baptist and John the apostle used the word bride.
With King David, it was the same experience. Here is the great warrior-king of Israel. I mean, we’re talking about the man’s man— the greatest warrior in Israel’s history, but he was a lovesick worshipper, gazing on God’s beauty. He was lovesick; he was fascinated with God’s beauty and God’s tenderness and God’s emotion.
There is more about God’s emotion revealed through David than through any other person in the Old Testament.
David was the person God chose to reveal His emotions to the planet. David wrote them in Psalms. He was a student of God’s emotions, which is the bridal reality —to experience God’s heart.
SONS OF THUNDER, BRIDE OF CHRIST
 
John the apostle was the “Son of Thunder.” That’s what Jesus called him. He was called a son of thunder in the natural because of his personality. He was a thunderous guy.
It’s an interesting study, looking at personality of John. I don’t want to go into it right now, but my point is, John was a fiery dude. He was a troublesome guy. He was the one who said, in Luke 9, “Jesus, they won’t join our group. Can we call fire down on them from heaven and burn them?”
Jesus came back from the city in Samaria, and John said, “How did it go?”

“Well, they didn’t show up, they didn’t come.”

“Can we burn them? Can we nuke them? Can we blow the city up?, Call down fire on them like Elijah?..
Jesus said, “Well, John, no.” Like take it easy John!

Anyway, Jesus looked at him and said, “You and your brother are sons of thunder.” That wasn’t entirely positive. It had a promise in it; the name had a redemptive promise, but they had to get there first.

THE DISCIPLE WHOM JESUS LOVED
We’re talking about this rough, tough guy. But when he writes the gospel of John in the nineties, is what most scholars think, at the end of his life, he describes himself five times as the one who laid his head on the Lord’s breast and the one whom God loved. His identity was so changed. He was thunderous in the natural, and over decades he became thunderous in his spirit before God in love. Men are called to know the Bridegroom but it is not a call to be feminine or change who we are as men.
Here’s a little side thing: in John 21, he says, “Peter and the disciple whom the Lord loved ran” He didn’t say, “And John did this…” He said, “The disciple whom God loved ran.” — I like that, but this is funny—
“the disciple whom the Lord loved got there first.” There are still issues! He and Peter are ninety years old. Peter has been with the Lord for sixty years, and John gets that little point in: “I outran him!”
“John, you’re ninety, no one cares.”
“I know, but I outran him! I know Peter’s going to read this. I outran him, back when we were twenty years old!”  I read that and I said, “There are still issues in this guy! He’s still all boy, even as a mature man.”
THE CALL TO HEAR HIS HEARTBEAT
Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest man ever born of a woman. John spoke in John 3:29 and said, “I heard the voice of Jesus as the Bridegroom. I have heard His voice, and my heart is ravished with joy. It is filled with joy” (Jn. 3:29, paraphrased).
So I tell the men, “Experiencing the reality of being the bride doesn’t undermine your masculinity. It will establish it and strengthen it. You don’t need to be afraid of what these fiery men encountered in God, anymore than the women need to be afraid of being sons of God. It’s the calling to experience His heart and to lay your head upon His breast, to hear His heartbeat.”
THE TENDER MERCIES OF JESUS
What is the bridegroom message? Really briefly, Jesus is filled with tender mercy. It’s the mercy of God that is part of the bridegroom message. Jesus is gentle when He deals with our weaknesses. Jesus is gentle with us; He really is, in our weaknesses, if we repent. He is gentle with us.
 Some people confuse rebellion and immaturity. That’s one of the great confusions in the body of Christ today, in holiness camps: The person who’s rebellious, and the person who’s immature, sometimes do the same outward activity. The rebellious person has no regard for God, or for obeying God, even if he or she names the name of Jesus. He’s trying to get away from sin. The immature person is trying to get free from sin. He is still get caught in the sin, but he’s trying to get free from it. His heart is to please the Lord.
The difference between King Saul and King David is that Saul was repentant when he got caught; David repented because he offended God. David said, “God, You are troubled, therefore I am troubled. Regardless of who catches me, You are troubled, therefore I am troubled.” That is sincerity. King Saul only repented when he was caught and trapped in a corner. His repentance wasn’t real.
God is tender towards sincere and immature believers. When we understand the bridal message, we will run to Him instead of from Him when they know He is gentle with them when they fail. The devil doesn’t want us to get established in this, because the devil wants us to run from God when we fail; not to Him with an open spirit.
JESUS, GLADDER THAN HIS FELLOWS
The next dimension of God’s emotions in the bridal message is His gladness. Jesus has more gladness than any other man in history. In Hebrews 1:9 it says that He had the anointing of gladness more than any of His companions — meaning any of His human companions. “Any other man,” is what it’s talking about.
It didn’t mean He was just the gladdest among the twelve He was hanging out with; He is the gladdest Man among all the companions of the human race.
Most of Church history has viewed God as mostly mad or mostly sad when He relates to us; like we come before God, and God is either angry, or maybe He’s not angry but He’s so disappointed when you come and ask Him something. “Oh, it’s you again! It’s Brandon again, what do you want? I forgive you so much, what else do you want?”
“Well, I would like you to help me break through in this…”
“I am so sad at the way you live. I am so heartbroken over you all the time.”
“Well, if you answer this one more prayer, I promise I will never do it again.” We get these crazy religious equations when the image of God that we have is that He’s mostly mad or mostly sad when He relates to us.
THE BURNING HEART OF GOD
He’s mostly glad with His people who are sincere. For 99.99999 percent of the time, because we have billions of years, He is glad with His people. Even on the earth, He loves us even in our weakness. He actually enjoys us, even while we’re growing up. He doesn’t just enjoy us once we’re fully mature; He enjoys us each step of the process. Each step of the way, He enjoys us. When you understand that there’s a glad God you’re relating to, which many of you do, though for some of you, this is a new point, it really changes the way you process your failure and weakness before Him.
Then the bridegroom dimension talks about His fiery affections; His burning desire for us. It talks about His beauty, His emotions. When we become students of God’s emotions, it stirs our emotions. When we understand God’s emotions, it stirs our emotions and it forms us and awakens our emotions.
LOSING PERSPECTIVE ON BLESSINGS
We can lose perspective when we’re more focused on our secondary blessings than we are on the primary encounter with the Lord. We can lose our way. We lose the oil of intimacy and our heart gets wounded; we get wounded and we get burnt out.
Some of our wounds today and some of our disappointments are signposts that our secondary rewards have become first place in our life. Most of the believers that I’ve known over the thirty years of ministry — most, I’m not saying ninety percent, but over fifty percent — most believers in the Body of Christ are living with wounds and disappointments in their relationship with God. One of the reasons they’re so wounded and disappointed — and they call it burnt out; there’s bitterness; there are strands of bitterness — is because the thing they wanted most was for the circumstances to be blessed and to work right.
God wanted the thing that they would want most to be encountering Him. Their secondary promises from God about the ministry working, the business working, the relationship working, that’s what they wanted most. When we live that way, our hearts are going to get bruised, really badly.
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