The Importance and Warnings of Tradition

Many of us just got done with the Easter celebration. No doubt some of our churches, depending on your denomination or lack there of hold to certain traditions that they deem important. We do this too in our families; we hold dear to strong rooted traditions of generations past which give us a sense of belonging and connection with another time. These can be a favorite recipe that we’ve grown to love from childhood, or a tradition of decorating the Christmas tree every year in a certain way. Traditions are so deeply rooted in all of us, and they can be good. But like anything held too strong, they can become dangerous and legalistic. There is a balance that we need to learn and understand in it all. When we look at God, he is a God of balance and order (read the creation account in Genesis Ch 1).

In the New Testament Jesus is seen consistently going against the grain of the Jewish traditions of his day; and in doing so, he is calling for a higher standard. He doesn’t come to abolish the law, (the traditions and order), but uses it to point out it’s legalism that we all succumb to. (Read Roman’s chapter 2). Again in Luke 11:37-39, Jesus warns the Pharisees who follow every rule of the outer law, but are unclean and hypocritical on the inside. We have this same problem today. We all have traditions that shape our thinking. What we need to do is to rightly acknowledge them, but then go one step further and learn the teachings of Jesus and how he dealt with people, their attitudes and traditions. As I mentioned, Jesus goes against the grain of the law to bring forth a deeper understanding of the character of God that he wants all his people to learn. It’s a way of love, of compassion, of acceptance. It’s not judging another just because you “see” things differently. God made us all unique and that is the beauty of life. I know I have had my struggles with this time and time again, but God is helping me to see clearer. As a seminary student (a student of The Good Book); I am constantly leaning to pray for humility. I know how easy it is for all of us to get big heads when we think we’ve learned something new. God is constantly reminding me that I am just a small part of his bigger purposes; and for most of us who live in a self-centered society that is a very hard pill to swallow. So I guess I say, traditions are good, but always be aware of how they are shaping you. Do they bring you closer to the thing of God, and his character and attributes? Or do they surface judgmental attitudes and “my way is the right way” type of thinking? May we constantly seek to surrender all of ourselves at the feet of Jesus and may we ask for him to point out and take away things that are not of him. (Psalm 134:23-24). May we live with a desire to truly reflect Jesus with our lives, driven by love, humility and service that is formed from a pure heart that is repentant and desires to do The will of The Father who has sent all of us to “go and make disciples”. I pray this spoke to you today and I pray it helps you to surrender on a new level to God. Be blessed and encouraged, and know that we’re all on this journey together. Robin.

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