It was rainy weather for days but since the rain itself wasn’t very heavy I felt I could stay comfortable with just my umbrella, even if I didn’t bring a raincoat.
One day at work I didn’t bring my umbrella inside since it wasn’t raining when I got there, but it started to storm a lot while I was inside. I felt very relieved when the rain let up at the end of the work day so I didn’t have to get soaked during the long walk to my car; but for the upcoming Sabbath I was sure not to take that risk again and brought my umbrella inside the congregation with me.
There was potluck that Sabbath and after lunch I decided to go to a friend’s house to hang out for a bit before returning for the evening service near sunset. It had started to rain outside but since I was prepared I confidently got my umbrella and offered to open it for my friend. Since her hands will full with her empty containers and leftovers from potluck I was going to hold it for her in order to keep her dry. But I couldn’t. I don’t know what happened to the button on the side that opened but it got stuck so the umbrella wouldn’t unfold. So I just resorted to plan b and put my coat on her head which was better than nothing and headed to the car.
While at my friend’s house I starting thinking about how often I had brought that umbrella with me and felt reassured by its presence whenever it got cloudy outside, when its presence really didn’t matter one way or the other. What I assumed would be my help turned out to be rather worthless for what I was trusting it for. Sometimes we can have false assurance regarding our relationship with God. We can carry our Bibles with us to Sabbath service and live with a profession of faith wherever we go, thinking it will help when in reality our religion is just a worthless symbol. The Jewish teacher James, wrote, “‘What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but has no actions to prove it? Is such “faith” able to save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food, and someone says to him, “Shalom! Keep warm and eat hearty!” without giving him what he needs, what good does it do? Thus, faith by itself, unaccompanied by actions, is dead.’” James 2:14-17
We can hold onto a profession of faith with no power to change our lives and protect us during the storms of life and never know how broken our connection with God really is until it is too late. We may face difficult times, requiring clear guidance from God, only to discover that our profession of faith in God was just an illusion and we didn’t really have faith at all. We only assumed we did, but never really used it. Don’t let that happen to you. Be sure you have the love of God in your heart and not just a profession of faith in your mind.
“’You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.’” James 2:19-26