We must begin to understand that our Bridegroom Jesus, desires us to become His Bride more than anything. What a holy desire! Is there anyone of us who would not want a spouse who is “wholly devoted” to us? Would any of us desire a spouse who is only partially devoted to us? Indeed, many are called, few are chosen. Matt. 22:14. We must understand that being born again is only the beginning our spiritual life on earth, and not the end. Another way to say it is; Many are called, but few are willing to pay the price, in order to be chosen. There is a price to the each one of must pay to come into that place where Jesus ultimately desires us to be, where His Word becomes a reality within our life experience. Then when we speak, we can speak from a place of authority in Him.
Indeed, Jesus said it is finished. His blood paid for us, once and for all, our salvation and we cannot add anything to that, but to become His true disciple, and on to His Bride, will cost us something. This work is not done automatically within us, simply because we must make choices each day, walking in faith, in order to go forward with God to the degree He wills for us. Jesus said to “count the cost”. Count the cost of what? Hebrews 4:2 says that “For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God proclaimed to us just as truly as they the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard “DID NOT BENEFIT THEM” because it was “not” mixed with faith….Once again, we must understand that it is impossible for us to create within ourselves the ability to become His disciple or “His Bride”. This is strictly a work of grace from Holy Spirit, to us, as we learn to become humble and surrender to Him, from our own wills. Our cost is to be willing to ” die to self”. Our cost is to “give up our own will” to Him. He will not take it, we must be willing to give it to Him freely, in faith. This process of “working out” our salvation did not end at our conversion. We must choose to move on to consecration, sanctification, holiness and into becoming His Bride.
Lets take a look at Luke 14:26:33, at the words of Jesus. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God, and likewise His wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life also, he CANNOT be my disciple. Whosoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (follow) Me CANNOT be My disciple. For which of you, wishing to build a farm building, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see whether he has sufficient means to “finish” it? Please read verses 29 through 32. Verse 33 says; So then, any of you who does not forsake (renounce, surrender claim to, give up, say goodbye to, all that he has CANNOT be My disciple.
My emphasis here is hopefully help us understand that just as we each had to “choose” Jesus as our Savior, we also get to likewise choose, to become His Bride, which “begins” by choosing to become His disciple. This is a progressive action of faith on our parts. We get to choose whether or not we will stop at only being “saved” or being the Daughters of Jerusalem, or will be move on with God, not being satisfied with just His hand or His gifts, and become His Bride, who seeks the Bridegroom with a whole heart. Rev. 19:7 says, …and His bride has prepared herself. It is our great honor to prepare ourselves, just as Esther did before her king, going through much preparation before presenting herself to him. (Please read the book of Esther) It is a prophetic symbol of us preparing ourselves for our King. We get to, “run after Him”, because it is His greatest desire for us, to marry us. What an honor to choose to be wholly consecrated and committing to running after Him.
Smith Wigglesworth puts it like this; Can you hold God? ——- it is irreverent to say so——oh, yes, you can, Sincerity can hold Him, dependence can hold Him, weakness can hold Him. When you are weak, then are you strong (2 Cor. 12:10). I’ll tell you what cannot hold Him. Self-righteousness cannot hold Him, pride cannot hold Him, assumption cannot hold Him, high-mindedness cannot hold Him—thinking you are something when you are nothing, puffed up in your imagination. Nothing but sincerity!
I am speaking of nothing of our own works here, our own abilities, or performance of any kind. I am only speaking of His grace within us. Ezekiel 36:26-27 says; A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I put my Spirit within you and “cause” you to walk in My statutes, and you will heed My ordinances and do them. It is ONLY by the power of Holy Spirit within you that can “cause” or enable us to walk and to run after Him. The word “power” in Acts 1:8 has the same meaning as the word that is translated “cause” n Ezekiel 36:27. These are one and the same in their intent and effect. This power comes when we are truly baptized in the Holy Spirit.
The baptism will truly enable us to serve Him better, but the deeper intent is that through the power imparted into our lives, we personally become a witness that can be seen as well as heard. That which I have experienced and become, is reflected through my conduct. Now my life will be a witness of things. When the Lord is satisfied that we truly intend to run after Him, then His processing will begin in our lives. The baptism is a gift, but the power is conditional. It is only available to us, “after” we go through a time of testing. See Luke chapter 4. True Holy Ghost power only comes after, true death to self. What an honor to choose to die to self and allow the deepest work of Holy Spirit in us, to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.