Believers are the bride of christ. All of history is moving towards a wedding feast between the son of God and the Bride. Scripture is replete with examples of this (Jer 2, Eph 5, 2 Cor 11, John 3, Rev 21, etc) and my focus here is not to fully address this issue, but rather to help other brothers think of The Lord as their future husband. This is naturally difficult for obvious reasons, as most guys are not able to relate to getting excited about cultivating and consummating a relationship with another male. This is where we have to put on our maturity hats and realize that* this is a metaphor that illustrates a principle of unity in a very tangible and concrete way.
I had never really explored this aspect of my identity in Christ, but when I came out to California to help plant an organic church 6 months ago, I believe I was led to do so. While a little awkward at first, it has become more natural with time.
One way I explore this is I go on “Jesus dates” which is exactly what you would expect: going out to eat, movies, etc… just Him and I. Sometimes they are planned out, and sometimes they occur spontaneously. For example, last week I wanted to sit and rock on the two person swing that is on the porch of the house I’m staying at. While doing so, I was listing to Lumineers on Pandora and the song “Stubborn Love” came on and its about a guy on a porch swing. I was only out there for 10 minutes or so before being called away (to attend to a lost chicken…different story), so I took the song to be a love song that he provided so that we could enjoy a moment together just him and I. Stuff like that. [In all fairness, I have done “outings” with Jesus for years, but now they are taking on a more romantic tone to them, whereas previously they were more friendship-y in their feel.]
Bros: you may be thinking that you could possibly lose a sense of your masculinity in exploring this part of your identity. While this is to be expected from a human logic point of view, I can truly say that for me that the opposite is true! He has actually put me MORE in touch with my maleness. I will try to explain.
How do I not lose my maleness in this exploration? Perhaps it is like this: among other purposes, God wants to restore humanity back to our true selves, and little by little that occurs as I respond to his leadings (I’m speaking of the “already but not yet” aspect of our redemption: the working out of our flesh. Yes we are seated in heavenly realms; but it’s being worked out day by day). Since responding to those leadings “awakens” who I truly am meant to be bit by bit, I am becoming more of the true me. Furthermore because God wanted me to be Thomas Elliott Fortson III, and he created me a male, learning about being part of a bride doesn’t detract from my maleness/masculinity, but rather it accentuates it, as it is closer to who I am truly meant to be.
Holy Spirit is the best tutor in the Universe, and he will teach you how to practically express this aspect of your relationship with Jesus. Practically for this guy, it has shown itself in the style of clothes I wear. I believe He has led me to start dressing nicer in order to please him. If you don’t know me, I am a shorts, sneakers, and t-shirt kind of a guy and love being casual. A few years ago, I had a girlfriend for a short time. She was into fashion and appreciated it when I dressed nicer whenever we went somewhere. I had a desire to please her, and so I happily (and sometimes begrudgingly) complied because I knew it would benefit our relationship and make her happy. So, in a sense it made sense that I would be led in the same manner as it pertains to my romance with The Lord. So I have started wearing dress shoes, pants, and collared short sleeved shirts when I go out.
Again, this is also a practical expression of the principle I mention above: in becoming more like a fiancee to my future groom, I actually become more masculine in the here and now: by wearing nicer clothes, it makes me feel more professional, more accomplished, etc… (Yes I know that the clothes don’t make the man, but rather the clothes express the man, and the outward change of appearance is a reflection of the inward change of perspective.). Its a tangible reminder of whose I am.
I am still learning, as we all are.
As always, I reserve the right to be wrong about this and anything else I write 🙂
The second part of this blog will post sometime soon (teaser: its about sex)
*I am also presuming you have the maturity to not get caught up on the homosexuality issue. Homosexuality is clearly sinful in scripture and this post is not trying to condone it when it occurs between two physical humans.