God framed the heavens and the earth with His Words. With His Word, He created the spirit of man. By His Word, God made His Word flesh. In His Word is salvation, deliverance, healing, protection, and prosperity. We must conclude, therefore, that God’s Word is powerful. And yet, there is something so nullifying, so negating that even Jesus said renders this Word of no effect.
The traditions of men.
Here’s what Jesus had to say about this:
Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. (Mark 7:13)
This is a key reason so many Christians are longing for the power of God to be manifest in their lives and churches long to see this power expressed in their services and congregations – the power of God will not overrun the traditions of men.
Notice here I said, “will not,” not “cannot.” You see, God is omnipotent; He can do anything but lie or fail. But God never forces His will on man. He could easily force us to bow down and worship Him; force us to choose Him. Yet, He never does, as that would be contrary to His character. God is the archetypal gentleman!
Back to my point, there are so many churches that are steeped in denominationalism and rooted in tradition that they end up ignoring Scripture. I know that there are many churches that will not permit me to preach in their pulpits because of my long, dreadlocked hair. I know of others that will not permit women to preach to their congregations. Still more would exclude many a potential guest preacher because of race or culture. These traditions, based upon errant interpretation of Scripture that I have neither time nor space to correct.
(By the way, this exclusion based on tradition cheats many from hearing from anointed preachers and teachers…)
Tradition often paints an inaccurate portrait of the Church and Kingdom Citizens. Mahatma Gandhi once said he’d have become a Christian had he never met one.
What an indictment against the Church!
Today, folks stay away from church by the thousands, citing hypocrisy, mean-spiritedness, and other factors – most stemming from tradition. Because tradition renders powerless the Word of God, there are no signs and wonders displayed for the purpose of winning the lost. Traditions of men are what largely keep folks from experiencing the beauty of relationship with the Father through Jesus.
Many churches are so yoked to liturgy that a move of the Holy Spirit is nigh impossible. The stated program must be followed. Proper protocol must be observed. Many believers have been thoroughly convinced that their style of worship, their hymns, their atmosphere is the only way to approach God. Others insist that proper dress is important – men must wear suits to worship and women cannot wear pants, and so forth. Let any of these elements be out of place and congregations that have become reliant, indeed, dependent upon tradition will become non-functional, complementing their dysfunction.
Now, the Bible teaches us that God esteems His Word above His Name (Psalm 138:2). The Pharisees evoked Jesus’ anger by esteeming tradition over the Word and folks today have the audacity to follow in their footsteps. By continuing this folly, the very power, yes, the nature of God is not expressed fully to His children.
Instead of obsessing over meaningless traditions that are devoid of power, we need to focus on the Word of God to the end of manifesting the Greater Works Jesus spoke of in John 14:12. Instead of practicing hollow worship smacking of man’s tradition, we need to go forth and fulfill the Great Commission.
It’s time to put away denominational dogma that hinder winning of the lost and properly discipling the saints. It will be a glorious day in the Kingdom when the yokes of tradition and the bondage of defiled religion are destroyed once and for all.
© 2012 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)