Friday, April 07, 2017


One of my favorite teachings of Jesus is his statement in Matthew 15:8-9, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.  But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.  His is a most dramatic statement.  The church often boasts of refusing to follow the tradition-bound trends created by man only to jealously protect our very own well-oiled, personally-preferred traditions.

This was such a contest in Jesus' daily walk.  At every turn, in effort to do the work of God, Jesus was met with stern oppositional rebuke.  And did such come from the gamblers and the murderers and the liars?  No.  It always came from the religious sort; leaders no less.

This puts guys like me in a most vulnerable position.  We study the Word to learn of God.  Yet, I have found so easily that my destination can soon shift to building an invisible self-support system to what I believe at this point.  To believe is honorable.  But to view such as permanent arrival with no room for question, adjustment, or even maturity is to become a blocked artery in the health of God's vibrant calling for all mankind.

The tradition we are to practice is twofold; following with increasing clarity the call of Jesus while, simultaneously, avoiding the following of man's habitual practices that come not from Holy Inspiration.  There.  Is.  A.  Difference.  One gives life.  The latter kills....just as Jesus said it would.

The religious tradition of man leads to boredom, indifference, animosity, or aggression.  Odd, don't you think that of those four, some are the opposite of the other?  The religious tradition of God is the opposite.  We still stand for something; but our stance shifts from holding up those man-made practices we've always enjoyed to learning yet newer advancements of the greatest cause on earth.

Being a part of church is anything but simple.  It takes faith in God while being ever-aware of the need for personal correction and reproof.  II Timothy 3:16:17 calls believers to make perpetual adjustments of the things which God would see warrant a shift.  We keep the things of His and discard the matters of us.  Such is a holy tradition of consistently pruning our self-created traditions.

This takes thought, action, which usually begins with repentance.  Because I am a learner, at this late stage of my ministry, I consistently find myself in Kindergarten.  This would be simply because, the longer I live, God keeps getting bigger.  And, when God keeps getting bigger, I keep getting smaller.  When we believe God we lose ground, our own ground, that we might move into His more life-affording territory.

No comments: