Nourishing bridal love means being vigilant, always on the alert for Jesus, our heavenly Bridegroom. Blessed were the five virgins who were watchful even while asleep. They were ready to meet the bridegroom and take part in the wedding (Mt. 25:10). But how does the bride of Jesus watch while sleeping, so that she not only awakens when her Bridegroom comes at midnight but is also ready for Him at that late hour?
Only love will keep her vigilant–the love that God, who first loved us, has poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Being born of God, this love has within it the seed of divine life. It is immortal and indestructible and never sleeps. And so the heart of the bride is awake even when she sleeps (Song of Solomon 5:2).
Love is awake within the heart of the bride of Jesus, no matter what darkness may surround her, no matter how great the danger of being overcome with sleep. This love is like a sensitive instrument. A single string plucked by the One she loves sounds in her heart, and immediately the bride is awake. Rising quickly, she rushes to meet Him. She would never miss those times when her Bridegroom draws near; for her, such encounters are foretaste of heaven. So she will not sleep through the hour when the Bridegroom comes in glory to take His bride to Himself and to celebrate with her the marriage supper of the Lamb.
If you want to be a bride of the Lamb ready to go out to meet the Bridegroom when He comes, then take care that this love is alive in you. Do not let it fade, but rather let it keep you spiritually alive and alert. Without this love, you will not be ready when He comes at midnight. Only if divine love burns in your heart can you awaken in a state of readiness, shaking off the paralyzing sleep that will overcome all humanity, believers and nonbelievers alike.
The midnight hour is near. The signs Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24 are being fulfilled. Love is growing cold in many. God’s commandments are widely rejected. The onward march of lawlessness is causing devastation and despair. Blasphemy is on the rise, indicating a burning hatred of Jesus Christ. In many parts of the world Christians are suffering for their faith. God’s chosen people are returning to the land of their fathers. The Gospel is being preached through the world. The Bridegroom is preparing to meet His own. But for whom will He open the door to the banqueting hall, where the marriage supper of the Lamb is to be celebrated on that glorious day of union between the heavenly Bridegroom and His bride, when heaven resounds with the sound of singing and rejoicing? Those for whom love for Jesus is a way of life will see that door open.
Use what time is left. Open your heart wide so that love for Jesus can flow in and shape your life; then, even while you sleep, this love is actively present–simply because your whole being is given over to Him. Do not tolerate anything that would diminish your love for Jesus and cause Him to withdraw His love from you. Do not tolerate a negative attitude toward any person. Do not tolerate any false attachments to people and things. Do not tolerate anything that would draw your away from Jesus’ path of lowliness, poverty, disgrace, and obedience. Resist the temptation to go your own way, gratifying self. Be on your guard against losing the love you had at first.
The hour is coming when the One whom your soul loves will appear, but you will not notice if you are not aglow with first love. Nor will your be drawn to Him, for only those who love Him with first love will be drawn to the Bridegroom. In that hour it will be too late to open your heart so that it may be filled afresh with love for Jesus, too late to buy the oil of love. Your heart must already be filled with this love. You must be a bride with all your being so that He will receive you as such when He comes for His bride. He will take as His bride only those who loved Him ardently, even in the darkest moments, and who were ready because their lamps were filled with the oil of repentance and love.
O day of supreme happiness when Jesus celebrates the marriage supper of the Lamb with His bride amid the rejoicing of heaven! It is worth sacrificing everything to gain bridal love, the pearl of great price, in order to know the joy of that day. Yet even if we were to give up everything in this life that is desirable and satisfying for body soul, and spirit for the sake of this love, we would still have given too little. Attaining the supreme goal of the marriage supper of the Lamb is worth everything.
Know that the midnight hour is approaching, and with it the marriage supper of the Lamb. The Bridegroom is coming. Turn your back on everything that would hinder you from going to meet Him. Live only to love Him.