Monday, January 6, 2020
It’s the middle of winter, and in Wisconsin it would be very strange to see someone with an umbrella. We bring them out in the spring. But even when it’s not raining, we tend to carry umbrellas.
The reason we carry an umbrella when it’s raining is so that we won’t get wet. We have big ones attached to our golf bags and little ones stashed in the pocket on the back of our car’s front seat. We have them leaning against the wall next to the door of our house, and we even carry built in umbrellas called hoods attached to the collar of our jacket. We don’t want to get wet. Wet is uncomfortable. Wet is cold. We want to stay dry and warm. Hooray for umbrellas!!!
Unfortunately we have carried our love of umbrellas into the spiritual realm. You see, just as it is impossible to not get wet when you stand unprotected in the rain, it is equally impossible to not get wet when exposed to the Word of God. But that makes us uncomfortable, so we put up our spiritual umbrellas.
We sit in church listening to the message from the Lord, and whenever the Word of God starts to make us uncomfortable, we pop up an invisible yet very real umbrella to protect us from the conviction.
We put up umbrellas of many styles and colors, representing a variety of personal interests and objectives, but they all have the same purpose – to keep us dry and comfortable in our present little world of experience. We have them stored all over our lives, so that at any moment we can pop one up to protect us from any rain that might fall. Every umbrella is designed to distract us from the reality of the rain that is falling around us. Up it goes and off we go into our own little thought world of self-indulgence, seemingly protected from the shivers of self-examination.
Yet the benefit we think we are receiving by staying dry is leading to our demise. The shivers we are avoiding are making us shrivel. It is when we get wet that we flourish. It is the rain of God’s Word that produces fruit. When we are saturated with the rain of God’s truth, we can see God accomplish His purpose in us.
Isaiah 55:10-11 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
We are stained people. Stained with sin. We must get wet to be washed. That is why Jesus came to earth, to wash us in the water of God’s Word. He uses the Apostle Paul to tell us that in Ephesians 5, where God says,
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
You and I cannot be holy, stainless, unwrinkled, and blameless if we don’t let ourselves get wet. We must take down our umbrellas and let the water of the Word wash us. Every stain needs a good soaking. Every protective covering we have put on or put up to shield us from the rain of God’s Word must be removed. We must do what little children do when it rains – take off all our clothes and run naked in it, letting it soak every part of us. Our shields – our umbrellas – will never do what God’s Word can do.
In my church there is a dear old saint who comes to me consistently after worship and shakes my hand. As she does, she says these words – Thank you for washing me in the Word today.
She has no umbrellas. She’s ready for rain.