The Predictions of a Rodent and the Evidence of our Faith
Tuesday - February 2nd
Devotionals from the Book of James
Scripture to Read Today: James 2:14-26
What good is it, my brothers and sisters,
if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?
Can such faith save them?
For over 120 years, February 2nd has marked the day we look to a large rodent to predict the weather for the last six weeks of winter. If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, it means six more weeks of winter weather. If he has no shadow, well, spring will come early. Studies show no correlation between Phil's predictions and what we actually experience weather-wise for the weeks following his appearance.
The celebrated rodent's prognostications have only been correct about 39% of the time. Statisticians tell us that we would be better off flipping a coin to determine whether winter will end its final six weeks with a cold blast or an unseasonably warm spring-like pattern. Punxsutawney Phil's shadow (surprise, surprise) indicates nothing of what is to come.
One local Pennsylvania news source described the history of Groundhog Day in the United States this way:
"Groundhog Day gained its name from European folklore. The legend goes that if a badger emerging in the spring was scared by its shadow, winter would last longer, and the farmers should postpone planting. While no badgers were found in Central Pennsylvania, the German immigrants settled on a groundhog. The second day of February was chosen all due to geography. The latitude of Central Pennsylvania, the average temperature is about 28 degrees, which is warm enough for groundhogs to wake from hibernation."
Punxsutawney Phil's shadow prediction today indicates nothing about how the final six-weeks of winter will play out. With all of its pomp and circumstance, the tradition provides some light-hearted relief in the middle of what has been a somewhat harsh winter in central Pennsylvania.
As I have been thinking over the James 2:14-26 passage for my message this coming weekend at Calvary, I thought about Phil. What happens over the next six weeks regarding winter weather will have no correlation to his shadow. James emphasizes that good works in a believer's life directly correlate to that person's faith in Christ as Savior. Unlike the meaningless shadow of a groundhog today, genuine saving faith indicates good works lie ahead in a life saved by God's grace.
James encourages us to look at our lives. If there is no indication of change resulting in good works, our faith may not be genuine. Ask the Lord to show you how your life has been changed since He saved you by His grace. Celebrate the change that indicates you are His child. While good works cannot save anyone, they will be the evidence of your genuine faith. Thank God for being in your life and bringing His transforming power to it.
If you don't see the outworking of His redeeming grace in your life, you might not be a part of God's family. Reach out to a Christian friend or pastor who can help you prayerfully consider your faith's authenticity. When there is no indication of God's transformation in your life by the good works that come out of your life, you may need to trust Christ as your Savior. Make sure you know Jesus today!
While good works do not save us, good works do flow from our lives as a result of saving faith.