Traditions of Men Versus The Law of God

As with all things in our lives we like traditions. You know those things we do time after time and pretty soon it becomes a way of life. For instance during the holidays we gather at a certain family member’s house year after year expecting it to never end. Or we fix a certain meal on a certain day year after year because it has always been done that way.

Sadly, we also find ourselves making tradition part of our “religious life.” It has nothing to do with the scripture and yet we find ourselves believing it does. We start to believe that if we do certain things time after time they become scripture. Case in point. For years we worshiped this way – opening prayer, three songs, announcements, prayer, another song, the lords supper, another song, the sermon, closing song, invitation and then closing prayer. We always met at certain times on Sunday Morning, Sunday night and Wed night. The times were strictly adhered to. We never deviated. This went on from the time I was a child until now.

If one of our elders, deacons or someone else suggested that times change, or the order of the service change one would have thought that a great sin had been committed. Because tradition had become scripture. Yes, we are to do things in decency and in order, however no where in the Bible does it state what order or how long the service should last. The early Christians went from house to house and worshiped daily.

I agree that our environment does not lend itself to the way the first Christians spread the word, however, it does open new possibilities and new avenues to spread that word.

Colossians 2: 8 states….” See that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of the world rather than on Christ.” (NIV)

Before we set in stone tradition as gospel we must go back to God’s word and see if it is discussed, if not then maybe we should re-think our attitude about what we think of it and how we react when others see a different way of doing things.

As with our personal lives things happen things evolve and traditions should be able to change along with it. If we want to be effective and not just efficient we must be open to those changes while staying true to the word of God.

Love

We all talk about being in love, staying in love and wanting to be loved. We become disappointed and disheartened when that either doesn’t happen or the one we thought we loved didn’t love us enough.

Some of us fall in and out of love like we change our clothes. Some of us say we love and then our behavior shows differently. Some of us have no clue how to love because we really don’t even like the person, we just lust after them and when that has run its course we are gone. Some of us don’t even like ourselves so how can we love ourselves.

In order to love someone else we must first look within. We must first learn to like ourselves and then love ourselves warts and all. Love is not about the clothes we wear, the places we visit or the feelings we find in the pit of our stomach, that is hormones raging.

To find out the true meaning of love and what it stands for we must go to the Bible. It is filled with example after example of love. True unconditional love.

It gives many examples of the types of love, how we are to love and why we are to love.

Let’s just start with one of the most well-known verses,

John 3:16 ” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Let’s just think on this for a moment. How many of us are willing to give our child up to be killed in order to save someone else. How many of us are willing to love someone else enough that we would send our child to their death? I venture to say none of us. But God did. He knew what would happen when he sent his son to the earth. Because he has the big picture. He could have stopped it at any time. But he loved us enough.

John 15: 13 tells us this 13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” How many of us are willing to make that kind of sacrifice”. I would dare say not many.

Now let’s get back to the meaning of love that is real love.

I Cor. 13: 1-13 is the best example of how real love works.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Real love is enough. Real love puts others first, it is quiet, meek, it is not proud, or self-centered, it makes sure the other person always comes first. Real love does not keep a score card of the wrongs that someone commits against the one they love. Real love always protects, always trust always hope and always perseveres. Real love never ever fails.
When we say we love someone, do we really mean it? When we say we love ourselves do we really mean it? Or has the word love become like so many others, it gets lost in the translation of the moment.
Are we ready to throw in the towel when the journey gets a bit bumpy? Do we hold grudges and try to find ways to get revenge? Do we look at ourselves in the mirror and wish we were this or that way? That is not love. Do we truly understand the word and what it represents? Or do we live in a TV fantasy world that life is happily ever after. Life is not always happily ever after nor is it perfect. But we can have the perfect love if we follow God’s example. If we understands he loves us enough. Enough to never turn his back even though we leave him, enough that he gave his son to die in order that we might live, enough that he hurts when we hurt. Enough that he knows our every need or desire even before we do. God loves us enough, but do we really love him or ourselves or others enough?
When we are willing to step out of our own way and understand that unconditional love is the only true love, that it is enough then and only then will we be able to have a relationship with our self, God and others. Then and only then will we be able to make life long commitments to our self, Our God and others.
This process begins with YOU! only YOU! can be the change.

Hope

Hope that is a word we use every day. We hope our company comes to visit, we hope our children are alright. We hope we get that promotion at work. The list goes on and on. 

But what does that word mean? What does it really mean Webster defines hope as: “to cherish a desire with anticipation to want something to happen or be true. to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment.to expect with confidence TRUST, something desired”

As we go about our daily lives sometimes we feel like there is no hope. We feel lost and abandoned, as if no one cares. We wonder why things happen to us. Many times it may come to the point of not wanting to go on in this life. 

This is where our Hope in God is our anchor. Our expectation that a promise made by a God who does not lie will be fulfilled. In Psalms 62:5 we are told by the writer this, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. 

As humans it is sometimes easier to put our hope on other humans or other things. They do not withstand the test of time. God is steadfast he will not leave us he is our anchor. He is the one that steadies our ship of life on the stormy seas we travel. 

If we rely on the hope of men we have no hope. Men are fallible, they are flawed. They will teach wrong things, God on the other hand is steadfast. He will not lie, nor leave us. He understands us better than we understand ourselves. 

There is an old saying, I would rather believe in a God, and there not be one, than not to believe in a God and find out there is one. 

As we live our lives and face our trials, walk our paths and see things around us we not ever give up hope. We must understand there is a God and he is our hope. He is the only one who is our hope. He has the big picture. 

God is Our Anchor and Our Hope