“‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!’ Jesus replied, ‘And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?’” (Matthew 15:2–3).
There are good traditions and there are bad traditions. A good tradition aligns with God’s expectations and honors Him and others in the process. A bad tradition benefits man and breaks Christ’s commands. Indeed, it is wise to take an inventory of our current traditions and make sure they are grounded in God, not made up by man. Is there any habit, belief, or assumption you give credence to that may be undermining your family or faith?
For example, a good tradition is routinely giving ten percent of our income to the Lord’s work, beginning with the local church and expanding to support ministries. However, a bad tradition is when a Christian leader tries to control the conscience of a person’s giving through guilt and intimidation. It is Spirit-led giving, not man’s manipulation, that gains the best outcome. Tried and true traditions are anchored by trust in the Lord’s control.
You may face a colleague at work or a strong-willed person in your extended family who has his or her way of doing things. This person’s tradition worked well in the past but is inefficient in the present. How do you break bad habits of another for the good of the company or for what is best for the family? Prayer, patience, and a plan are your best change management tools.
Prayerfully come up with alternatives that honor the old but give preference to the new. Be bold to ask challenging questions in a spirit of humility. Why are we doing it this way? Is there a better way? How can we improve the process to make the best progress? Are you called to do this? Do you have the gifts and experience required for this project?
Good traditions enjoy God’s favor over time; bad traditions struggle to survive. What project or program needs to be taken off life support so other resources can be freed up to further the mission? Some traditional strategies suffer from fatigue and need to be put to rest. Other new ones need focused support to execute with excellence. Be honest about your spiritual life and strategic direction. Are your traditions truly from God and for God? Are you trying to change the unchangeable, or are you trusting Christ with change?
“See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you” (Isaiah 42:9).
“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins” (Mark 2:22).
Prayer: What accepted traditions do I need to respectfully reject? What new traditions do I need to embrace by faith?
Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 35:25; Micah 6:16; Mark 7:4–9; Galatians 1:14
Post/Tweet: Good traditions enjoy God’s favor over time; bad traditions struggle to survive. #traditions
© 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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