I used to attend a Titus 2 Bible study geared toward helping women in their marriages. One of the greatest lessons was demonstrated by an umbrella "fashion show" in which the protective coverings of each model's umbrella showed a different result of how well we operate under the leadership of our husbands.
I've adapted "The Umbrella Fashion Show" to demonstrate how well Christians in general operate under the leadership of God and His Word, the Holy Bible. Imagine runway supermodels modeling each of the following umbrellas that are in the condition actually described. You could even do a skit with real volunteer models. The Umbrella Fashion Show is always a hit, to God's glory, because it's a humorous, visual way to get everybody to think about the importance of our individual relationship with the Lord.
Thank you to my mentor and friend Joanne Frank, as well as the Christown Titus 2 ministry in Phoenix, Arizona.
Okay, let's rock the runway! Cue the music!
THE UMBRELLA FASHION SHOW
Have you ever thought of God as your "umbrella of protection"? Well, if you haven't, then we're here to show you what that might look like, and to get you thinking about the one most important "accessory" you carry with you at all times, no matter what the season. Come rain or shine, Jesus is your umbrella of protection. He's your perfect shelter when it rains, and your perfect shade when things get hot.
The question is, what does your umbrella look like in your Christian walk? Now, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. But when it comes to how you hold Him up over your life, just how well are you allowing Him to protect you when the storms of life or the heat of trials beat down on you?
To help us envision Jesus Christ as our umbrella of protection, with the help of some very super models, we'd like to present to you the umbrella lines of two well-known designers.
Our first collection of umbrellas has been designed by...Folly.
THE "ALL WET" UMBRELLA
Wading Wally is modeling our first umbrella. Folly, the designer, has gone "all out" for this one. Literally. It's called the "All Wet" umbrella of...um...protection. And my, can't we see why?
We're looking at the world's umbrella that has crept into this Christian's cloak closet. Popular among the more spiritually immature as well as the rebellious crowd, this umbrella just screams, "I'm saved, but you'd hardly know it!" This Christian believes in Jesus, and maybe even goes to church more often than just on religious holidays, but he still thinks and behaves a lot like people in the world.
The Christian with the "All Wet" umbrella has no zeal for the things of God in his life — except during praise and worship on a good Sunday. Because he rarely reads his Bible, and the only time he prays is when he's in trouble, come Monday through Saturday he blends in quite well with the crowd.
This is a carnal Christian, and a carnal Christian is all wet because he makes very little use of the protective covering of God's umbrella over him. Thank you, Wading Wally, for donning the totally drenching "All Wet" umbrella. Please don't slip or backslide on your way out!
THE "HALF 'N HALF" UMBRELLA
Next is Half-Hearted Harry, looking simply self-serving under his "Half ‘N Half" umbrella, from Folly's classic and yet increasingly popular line.
There are parts of this obedience to God thing he really likes — like the Ten Commandments. He's never murdered or stolen a thing in his life, and he goes to church every Sunday. He has no problem praying for things he wants and helping others when time permits or there's something in it for him. And he loves to hear rousing sermons and testimonies, especially his own, about all of God's wonderful blessings in this life. Yes, indeed, he loves all the good parts about being a child of God. Purpose, destiny, breakthrough and the next level are his calling cards!
But don't mention things like dying to self, putting other people's needs before his own, loving his enemies, suffering for Christ, or being accountable. This Christian has decided that a lot of God's rules no longer apply in this day and age, that times have changed...and so has God's mind.
But then when the storm hits or the heat beats down on him, he's no longer stunning but totally stunned. With his "Half ‘N Half" umbrella, he is surprised to find out, often the hard way, that he can still be overtaken. By picking and choosing when he'll live by God's will and when he'll live by his own will, he is only half protected.
Thank you, Half-Hearted Harry, for showing us how well the "Half ‘N Half" umbrella doesn't work!
THE "WHOLLY HOLEY" UMBRELLA
Words cannot describe how snooty Miss Snobnose looks under her "Wholly Holey" umbrella. Yes, that's "Wholly Hole-y" — another item custom-designed by Folly.
This umbrella is a perfect complement to the overall look and feel of this "holey-er-than-thou" Christian, whose self-importance and judgmental attitude poke holes in her witness for Christ.
And how does she achieve this holy — um, I'm sorry, holey look? Well, with her tongue mostly. And by the looks of her umbrella, she's an expert! She's very good at building herself up by tearing other people down. She'll sound very humble while she tells you she's more godly, more spiritual, more knowledgeable, more experienced, more giving, more fruitful, even more an instrument for God's use than most other Christians.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, she has an eye for such things. A blind eye.
As her Wholly Holey umbrella reveals, she's more talk than walk. By the time she finally gets around to sharing the Gospel or ministering the spiritual gifts that God may have actually given her, her E – G – O has gotten in the way. She has "Edged God Out" by thinking she can be everybody's Holy Spirit.
Sadly, she's more like the Emperor who did not know he wasn't wearing any clothes — exposed, vulnerable and oblivious. She can't see the holes and tears her prideful tongue has ripped into the covering of God's umbrella over her. She boasts about being under His umbrella, and yes, she is. But by showing off more the fact that she has one than the fact that it is all by God's grace and mercy, she can't see that her witness is, well, still quite wet.
Thank you, Miss Snobnose. We've seen enough!
THE "WINDS OF CHANGE" UMBRELLA
Gullible Gladys is our next umbrella fashionista. How downright dizzy she looks as she wrestles with this trend-following item from Folly's "Winds of Change" line.
This umbrella causes the undiscerning Christian to change directions depending on how the winds of doctrine are blowing. She goes back and forth and up and back and all around in dead-end circles according to the latest trends, gimmicks, clichés or catch-phrases popularized by the more prosperous preacher personalities.
No doubt this Christian will turn heads — you can't help but notice how she tosses to and fro with no real, secure grip on her spiritual growth. Sometimes she looks to the Bible for direction, but then she thinks, "Yeah, but the churches with fresh new revelation and their own books on the bestseller lists are huge." Or she thinks, "Yeah, but all I need to know is how to get that 100-fold return!"
This Christian is not grounded in the final authority of God's Word, and as a result, she's not as protected as she thinks she is when the storms come. And they will come. Uh-oh! Watch out, Gullible Gladys! Don't hurt yourself! Or anyone else!
THE "NO HEAVENLY GOOD" UMBRELLA
Busy Betty is modeling an umbrella from Folly's increasingly popular "No Heavenly Good" line. The "No Heavenly Good" umbrella is completely...uh...well, completely upside down!
Customized for the busy "too earthly minded to be any heavenly good" Christian, this wash-and-wear umbrella totally inverts God's perfect protection plan so that, instead of being sheltered, she's actually flooded with all the cares of this world, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life in the here and now.
She insists that the covering of her umbrella is completely intact, and it is, and obviously very functional, too. Look how much she can carry in it! But she's holding it in a way that's shows she doesn't understand what it's for.
Yes, she's clearly using God's umbrella as her strength to carry all the weight of life. But she's really putting the things of God on the back burner. Her priorities are flipped, and she's never satisfied. As soon as she's conquered one goal in life, there's another one right there just waiting to preoccupy her and distract her from the eternal things of God.
This Christian with her "No Heavenly Good" umbrella has made very little room for her relationship with the Lord. She's put her own plans before God's plans, and yet still can't figure out why her world is so topsy-turvey. As a result, with her upside down priorities, she is totally unprotected.
Thank you, Busy Betty, for finding time in your over-loaded schedule to model for us. Please don't spill anything on your way out.
THE "SAFE AND SOUND" UMBRELLA
Our last model, Wise-man Wally, is the smartest looking Christian of them all. That's because he's modeling the "Safe and Sound" umbrella, which is the one single design for the Christian's umbrella, from our second Designer, Almighty God.
It looks like Wise-Man Wally's got a good handle on this one. Notice how the "Safe and Sound" umbrella looks different from the rest. That's because its protective covering is exactly what God intended it to be.
He has made this umbrella to give you comforting protection and faithful reliability, guaranteed to last for a lifetime. And beyond.
Why, this Christian's umbrella is perfect because he reveres his Heavenly Father who provides it, and he also understands and respects its purpose as the most precious Gift in his life. He cherishes and adores this Gift and holds it up over himself in a way for all the world to see — not for his own glory but for the glory of the One who makes him and all Christians truly "Safe and Sound."
Thank you, Wise-Man Wally. How smart you look indeed!
Let's give one last round of applause for all our truly super models.
That was fun and hopefully helpful to all of us...Just let me get my notes together, then we can go on with the program. Uh, wait a minute! Who is this wandering on the stage?
Oh, poor thing! She looks so cold, so lost and alone, so empty. Look, she doesn't have an umbrella...
Looks like she's tried everything else to find safety. But what she really needs is that perfect umbrella of protection, the kind of lasting, safe and sound protection that only Almighty God can give her.
At least all the other people we saw had umbrellas — even if they weren't using them properly. At least they had Christ in their lives. At least they were saved.
That's what this soul needs. She needs Jesus. She can try anything and everything else, but nothing will protect her from the storms or the unbearable heat except Him.
John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Now all she has to do is receive it.
Whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. May we all be truly and properly safe and sound under God's perfect umbrella of protection, for this life and eternal life to come, for everyone who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Images courtesy of Laurel Davis
Final Image: Marina Bonesso; "Untitled
"; Creative Commons