“For you ignore God’s specific laws and substitute your own traditions.” (Mark 7:8)
Traditions can be powerful helps to our faith, but they can also become deterrents and distractions from godly instructions.
Notice that Jesus wasn’t speaking against traditions themselves. In this verse of Mark, Jesus was speaking to the hypocrites of his day and reprimanded them for forsaking God’s instructions and replacing them with man-made rules.
We have certain man-made traditions in the Christian church that assist us in carrying out spiritual benefits such as coming to an altar to pray, or meeting for “Sunday School”, or sitting in rows during worship. These things are all good, but if they were to become to us our litmus test for salvation or relationship with God, we would be both wrong and hypocrites. We already have biblical methods and proof of our relationship with Jesus, and we mustn’t cheapen those things with our personal preferences.
With this being said, we should be both intellectually and spiritually honest with what the Bible instructs about godliness and true holiness. Jesus does care about where we go, how we speak, what we wear, and how we present ourselves to the world if those things don’t align with the principles of His Word. We can be just as far from God by following nonbiblical traditions as we could by neglecting biblical ones. Our pursuit, then, should be to passionately follow what God desires and instructs of us and prayerfully allowing healthy convictions to be our guardrails and tools in keeping them.
What are some tools or traditions you’ve adopted in your life to help you follow God more closely?
What are some traditions in your life that have hindered your walk with God in the past?
What are some things you’ve neglected that would make your relationship with God more meaningful by adopting?