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Questioning Customs

Monday, October 24, 2011

6Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 8See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. —Colossians 2:6-8

Jesus came to a world steeped in tradition. During His ministry on earth, He sometimes went out of His way to challenge traditions and customs, particularly those that seemed spiritual but were actually an offense to God. A huge problem with traditions is that one generation does something for a particular reason and the succeeding generations keep doing that thing with no idea why they are doing it any more. Jesus stepped all over the Sabbath traditions of His time because He knew they missed the point by a mile. People had taken God’s gift of rest, time for worship, and appreciation of life and changed it into grinding legalism that had people counting steps and trying to keep track of hundreds of picky “laws” that had nothing to do with God’s directions.

We often let customs and traditions overwhelm the dynamic life of our relationship with God. Think about your Sunday routine for a minute. Can you explain why you do each of the things you do? Or is your spiritual life simply “what I’ve always done”?

I don't want to come to church and learn about customs and traditions. I want to know what the Word of God says. I want a church to be biblical. I don't care about preachers wearing hats that are three feet high or capes. I don't want anything that isn't in the Scriptures.

Second Peter 1:3 tells us that His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. The simplicity of a biblical church is what we need—not customs. Need a verse for that? There's a lot. Start with Colossians 2:8, which in the New King James version says, “Beware lest anyone cheat you . . .” So many people are getting cheated by church customs.

Read Colossians 2:8 again. You buy into a system, even a Christian system, filled with the traditions of men and not the Word of God, you lose! Because you get caught up in the, “I like the majesty; I like the pomp and incense” syndrome. Really? That's what you like even though that's not in God's Word in any way? This verse makes you responsible to question traditions, to understand them, and to make sure they in fact conform to God’s Word.   


  • If I took my latest church bulletin, could I assign biblical reasons for the order and actions of the service? If this assignment raises questions, am I will to ask my church leaders respectful questions? 


Father, help me never to settle for safe but stale traditions when I can walk with You! Teach me to refuse things that seem attractive or meaningful but have no basis in Your Word. Lead me to walk by the Spirit rather than by the flesh, seeking hard after You, Lord! In Jesus’ name, Amen.





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