When our daughter Ana was four and still living in a delightful princess world, she loved to play dress up. One day she ransacked her dress up box and came out of her room wearing raccoon slippers, a white bride’s veil and holding a plastic police riot baton.
I said, “Oh, Ana, what a beautiful bride you are!”
“No,” she answered with a mean gleam in her eyes, “I’m a killy bride.”
A frightening thing for your four-year-old to say, granted, but it is an excellent word picture of who we are as the Body of Christ.
On the bride side, we are pictured in the Scriptures as fiercely loved by our champion groom. The poetic book Song of Solomon paints an intimate portrait of Christ’s intense, initiating love for us. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “My soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10 ). God delights in His beautiful bride like a lovesick groom.
As we meditate on that, gazing into His loving eyes, greater love for Him stirs in us toward Him. “We love because He first loved us” (I John 4:19).
But that’s not the only picture of our identity…there’s also the “killy” side.
We’re an army. We take new ground from the enemy on a heavily contested battlefield where the stakes couldn’t be higher.
The kingdom of God is movement. “From the days of John the Baptist until now,” Jesus said, “the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). Force. Advance. Clash. Movement.
Jesus also said that He would build His church and that “the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). In this picture, the church is the one on the offensive, not defensive. We’re not trying to keep all those creepy people out of our nice, neat kingdom. Rather, we’re the reckless ones storming the castle, scaling the foreboding walls and ransacking the kingdom of darkness. The gates of hell eventually give way to the Kingdom’s forceful advance.
We’re both. A killy bride.
If you will, there is a feminine side to our relationship with God (tender intimacy) and a masculine side (forceful advance). A character in C.S. Lewis’ science fiction novel That Hideous Strength ponders aloud that in the presence of God, we all our feminine.
Ladies, let’s hear that warrior spirit. Guys, get used to being a beautifully adorned bride. That very lovely bride needs to be very skilled at wielding that police baton, too. Our souls, anchored in a tender intimacy with Christ, were meant to rise up and violently advance the kingdom of God against this present darkness.
The next time you feel squelched in a theology that solely focuses on your own individual relationship with God to the exclusion of impacting the world around you, show them that same mean gleam in your eyes.
“No!” you tell ‘em. “I’m a killy bride!”