What are your traditions? Do you have family traditions? Do you hold fast to them? What are the church traditions you adhere to? Do you know if they are biblically based or not? Have you given them any thought? What were Jesus’ commands?
Most of us have traditions we follow. We may call them our routine, rather than traditions. Yet they mean the same. We often will go to extremes to keep them. Why do these become so important to us? No, not all traditions are bad. Yet we should understand why they came into being and what purpose they serve.
For example, family gatherings at Christmas are good traditions. It brings the family together to celebrate the birth of Christ. True, when you dig into the history, it is almost certain He was not born on this day. Yet we don’t know the exact day He was born. Choosing to celebrate His birth is a wonderful thing. It also provides us with an opportunity to celebrate our family. Good.
But why do we have such a wide variety of traditions within the church? Do you know why they exist and where they came from? Are they simply man-made traditions that were devised so a select few could maintain control? Or were they derived from some instruction given in the Bible? Do you know that Christ came to earth and destroyed nearly all of the Jewish traditions and even held those traditions against the Jewish leadership? No, not all traditions are bad and not all are solely man-made.
Yet we should legitimately question the traditions and we should know why they exist. We are not to be lost sheep. We are expected to know who Jesus is and His expectation for us. Sure, we need some leadership. That is why Jesus stated He was our Shepherd (John 10:1-21).
Perhaps God is using this time of disruption to cause us to think about our traditions. Perhaps we should evaluate what it means to be the church. Did you know in the first century there was only one church per city? Sure, they were fewer in number, yet they came together in unity. They came from different backgrounds but joined together in the name of Jesus. They didn’t have lots of traditions, nor did they determine they needed them. After all, they knew the stories of Jesus berating the Jews about their traditions and how the Jews had put traditions ahead of God. No, not all traditions are bad.
Jesus gave us two very simple yet stout commands—we are to love God and love our neighbor. He said ALLof the law and prophets were wrapped up in these commands. Perhaps we should get back to fully adhering to these two commands.
I pray we all decide to love God. I pray each of us will love our neighbor. I pray we examine our traditions and understand their origination. I pray we all decide to live the exciting life of following Jesus. It is exhilarating. Love God. Love your neighbor. Understand your traditions. Live an exciting life in Jesus. Be exhilarated. Jesus loves you.
Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”