Aug 1, 2007 Religion v Tradition

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Tonight I was asking God about something that has been on my heart… where is the line between religion and tradition? When are we too much in the world or not at all of it?

I used to be very religious. I had rules for everything! There were more things I didn’t do because of God than things I did do for Him. I was very proud of my rules and stuck to them relentlessly. Once I even told Mark, while we were dating, that I thought it would be best if we no longer hugged! That would keep us more “pure”. But, all these things were mere rules so sin abounded…because empty, self imposed, rules and traditions do not give you power over sin… Jesus does.

Over the last four years God has been graciously delivering me from my religion. So I often struggle with finding the line between going back there. It is hard finding a balance between mere tradition and necessary discipline!

Tonight I was reading in Matthew 15.A couple of Pharisees come up to him and ask why His disciples are breaking tradition and not washing their hands when they eat. Jesus replies with this, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition” (emphasis added). Jesus then points these religious men back to the commandment about honoring your father and mother. He then says that they have invalidated the Word of God by not helping their parents when they are in need but saying, “sorry I already gave my gift to God”. I think here He is connecting the body and the spirit or “religion” to “real life”.

How can we say that we love God and give to God without loving others? It is a contradiction.

He then goes on to talk about food how what goes in the mouth does not defile but yet what comes out…rooting from the heart! This is what He highlighted in my brain…. Jesus is always looking at the heart when it comes to tradition v. discipline matters.

Do I wake up every morning and read my Bible to spend time with Him or is it a tradition?

Do I listen to only Christian music so I can brag to my friends or does bring my heart closer to Him?

These comparisons can be asked in nearly every area of our life.

What God is teaching me is that He is concerned with my heart and if I truly want to become like Him it is not my following a set number of “Christian” rules but it by loving Him and loving others!

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