Tradition

Acts 11:9-15 - But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven.  And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea.  And the Spirit told me to go with them, wmaking no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house.  And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter;  he will declare to you a message by which zyou will be saved, you and all your household.’  As I began to speak, athe Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning.

   Traditions have a way of digging in. For centuries, Peter had been practicing certain behaviors based upon the law that God had given to the Jews through Moses. Dietary guidelines were a big part of these practices, so when the Lord gave him instructions to kill and eat a mess of unclean animals, Peter was quite confused. He stood on his tradition until God commanded him, “What God has made clean, do not call common (v 9).” The overall message God was getting across was that the Gentiles were called clean by God, and Peter needed to understand this to get a clearer vision of what God was doing in the world.
     While many traditions come from a good place and tie us to our past and our heritage, we must be careful not to let them blind us from what God has in store. Traditions have a way of making us feel comfortable. All I have to do is think of the smell of pumpkin pie at the holidays and I’m transported to cozy Christmases with the family. And while there is nothing wrong with family holidays, comfort in the setting of our relationship with Christ can have detrimental effects. We can get stuck believing that God wants our lives to be easy and that our call will not change. But as we see with Peter, God wants us to stretch and grow in our faith, which means that some our closely held traditions may be challenged so that others can hear the Gospel and God can expand His family.

What are some traditions or ideas you hold onto that aren’t necessarily in the Bible or even contradict it? What might these ideas be keeping you from doing for God?

Take the time to ask God where He is at work and don’t eschew things that are outside of your comfort zone. Take steps to do something new for God that you haven’t done before.