Religious tradition appears to be very devout and its followers seem to be so humble and holy in their strict observance of rules that seek to control the behavior of the body. The only problem with this is that the flesh is never permanently satisfied. (TMB)
Is tradition more important to you?
There are traditions that lay an amazing foundation for beginning your relationship with The Father. However, your genuine relationship with God is spiritual, not one driven by rules and regulations.
John 4:23-24 “But a time is coming and is already here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit [from the heart, the inner self] and in truth; for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind], and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Amplified Bible AMP)
You can wear a dress that touches your knees or wear pants instead; you can dress up in a suit and tie or wear shorts and flip-flops; you can wear makeup or not; you can go to the movies or not; you can stay in church from dusk to dawn or only spend an hour and a half, etc. The traditions you adhere to are not wrong, however, they cannot sanctify you.
Hebrews 10:1-4 We have seen how the law is simply a shadow of the good things to come. Since it is not the perfect form of these ultimate realities, the offering year after year of these imperfect sacrifices cannot bring perfection to those who come forward to worship. 2 If they had served this purpose, wouldn’t the repetition of these sacrifices have become unnecessary? If they had worked—and cleansed the worshipers—then one sacrifice would have taken away their consciousness of sin. 3 But these sacrifices actually remind us that we sin again and again, year after year. 4 In the end, the blood of bulls and of goats is powerless to take away sins. (The Voice TVT)
If you do research, you will find the Pharisees added an additional 248 commandments and 365 prohibitions to the ten commandments. Yet, the additional rules did not work any better than the ten the Lord gave. Rules, laws, and prohibitions could not regulate the behavior not of the Israelites, and not of any human being. Which is why Jesus had to become our sacrifice.
Galatians 2:16 We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. How do we know? We tried it—and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen! Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement, we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good. (The Message MSG)
There will always be a need for one more rule if we use the Pharisees’ method. Why, because there will always be a loophole, an oversight, etc. in the previous rule. Don’t get so caught up in making sure you adhere to the traditions that you lose sight of the God you serve. Spend time cultivating a relationship with God; it will guide your behavior. You can uphold a tradition and request that others do the same. However, make sure you understand what the tradition is, the reasons you defend it, and how it glorifies God.
Philippians 3:3 For we have already experienced “heart-circumcision,” and we worship God in the power and freedom of the Holy Spirit, not in laws and religious duties. We are those who boast in what Jesus Christ has done, and not in what we can accomplish in our own strength. (The Passion Translation TPT)
Please agree with me as I pray:
Father, as I think back over my childhood, there were more rules and regulations than I could count or break. Rules dictated what I could wear to church and what I couldn’t. Where I could sit in church and where I couldn’t. What I could say in church and what I couldn’t. Now I understand it was never a matter of whether or not those traditions were necessary; You wanted my heart. I repent for every time I conformed to a tradition because I was obligated or forced to. Thank You for teaching me You wanted me to reverence You. You wanted me to choose You because I understood and appreciated the fact that You deserved my choice. Sometimes it was difficult to tell the difference and I am sorry. I should have asked You. In all the regulations and rules, seeking You was not one of them. Yet, You did not leave me ignorant. You called to me. You taught me if I continue to spend time with You, I can hold on to some traditions because I choose to if I feel they bring me any closer to You. They are a part of my heritage. You also taught me their purpose, which gave me the liberty and helped me decide to keep them or not. My choice is to do what brings me closer to You…
Ask the Lord what He wants to say to you about today’s devotional and journal His response as described here.