Tradition, Truth, and Transformation

Tradition, Truth, and Transformation Devotional Reading and Podcast

A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past.

In the 1990s, I listened to an interesting conversation defining tradition as practiced by many cultures outside of America. The young man explained that although his family was in another country, he did not date because his wife had been chosen for him from birth. And he was willing to make the sacrifice because he could not bring shame to his family or his village.

Although I did not understand the concept of marrying someone that you do not love, the honor and respect that he was willing to give to cultural traditions and his family were certainly commendable. Yet, he expressed there was an overwhelming conflict in his mind since he relocated to America. The issue that he struggled with was exposure to the American way of relationships and marriages formed and sustained by love.

The story ended with him returning home, marrying his bride, and after the legal process, she left her family and village to live in America. As an adopted elder sister, he introduced me to his new wife, and I must admit, his family made the right choice.

This is an example of a cultural tradition that had a very happy and blessed outcome. But what happens when our cultural or family traditions cross paths with God’s truth?

One of my neighbor’s family backgrounds included the practice of Agnosticism, “the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist.” She stated that one day the thought arose in her mind to go to church. And from her decision to begin attending church, she dedicated herself to God and enrolled in the church’s training to become a missionary. For 10 years, she faithfully served God and others. For obedience to God, she was ostracized and rejected by her entire family for more than a decade. After returning from her mission trip, sadly, she did not win the battle of tradition versus truth. She renounced her conviction in God because of the desire to be accepted by her family.

It takes courage and strength to suffer from isolation because of your love and loyalty to God.

When I learned [at age 15] that God did not change the Creation’s 7th day Sabbath to Sunday and became a Sabbath-keeper, I was estranged from my family. God allowed me to attend a church school that kept the Sabbath. From research, I learned that the transition of the original Saturday Sabbath was instituted by Emperor Constantine. Deep within my heart, I knew the decision to honor the Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset was one that God ordained for my life.

As a teenager, my choice to obey resulted in not being able to attend secular activities during the 24 hours of the Sabbath. In addition, my family was the third generation in their denomination. And it was not only the Creation Sabbath that caused a chasm, there were many doctrinal beliefs that I was taught that were not Bible-based truth. My questions regarding the discrepancy were answered with, that is not what our church believes.

Many people ask, what difference does the day make? Jesus says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).

“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle [not the smallest letter or stroke of the pen] shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18].

Obedience to God includes obeying the Decalogue–The Ten Commandments. Within our conscience, we know that it is not rational that God would abolish only the Fourth commandment. The problem is that we are disobedient in other areas of our lives, so accepting the explanation of the manmade transition from keeping the Holy Sabbath to honoring Sunday, the day that Jesus was resurrected fits in with our lifestyles.

Jesus clarified that if we love Him then we keep all of God’s commandments which not only reveals our love and reverence for God but also proves our loyalty to God’s truth. The surrender and the commitment to serve God requires more than honoring the Holy Sabbath day. Make no mistake, many Sabbath-keepers will not receive their reward of eternal life due to their ritualistic worship practices and disobedience to God.

Today’s community of believers is being deceived by the increase in false teachings that studying the Bible is not required to be in the right standing with God. We hear part of the truth in watered-down sermons, attend services that consist of only singing praise and worship songs, and have close relationships with those who do not serve God. It is impossible to live righteously or have knowledge of God’s truth without studying for yourself.

Without biblical knowledge, we do not know the truth or have a standard to measure religious books, videos, or sermons that are contrary to the Scriptures. Satan, our archenemy is pleased when he can confuse the minds of those striving to serve God. Christian believers are waging war against each other because the “Truth” has countless versions changed by traditions, ministers, and various denominational beliefs that are not Bible-based.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

God is aware that we require continuous spiritual guidance. He gave us the Bible as a standard of truth and to ensure unity among believers. The Scriptures were written for Christians by anointed men of God, are God-Breathed, and provide us with the righteous standards that God expects us to live by. Whether we follow the current trend of not studying for ourselves, we will be judged individually according to our love for Christ, our obedience, faith, and knowledge and application of the Scriptures during our spiritual journey on earth.

We will not be able to blame pastors, ministers, Bible teachers, cultural traditions, or coercion into attending the family church for our acceptance and practice of false teachings and misguided interpretations.

How did the distortion of God’s Truth enter the church? Religious history reveals the period of the introduction of pagan beliefs into the church.

In Revelation chapter 6, “The black horse period represents a falling away from the truth. It represents the church’s compromise with paganism that brought false doctrines into the church. Scales represent judgment. Daniel told Belshazzar, ‘You have been weighed in the balances and are found wanting’ (Daniel 5:27). The church is judged in this black-horse period and found to be lacking in faithfulness. In this period (A.D. 313-538), Satan tried to destroy the
church’s effectiveness through compromise with the world.” Pastor Mark Finley

The apostle Paul warned the church in his day of this very thing. “I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, from among yourselves, men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves (Acts 20:29, 30).

Although Satan has caused division among the followers of Christ by deceitfully instituting pagan beliefs which conflict with the Word of God [the Holy Scriptures], there was only one change and that was the Ceremonial law that required the sacrifice of animals. When Jesus, the Lamb of God, died on the cross the veil tore from top to bottom in the earthly sanctuary indicating the end of the sacrificial system and the earthly priests who made atonement for others. And that is the only law that was done away with!

Do you feel like you are in a dilemma from the conflict with the traditions of your upbringing or confused and unsure of whether your beliefs are Sola scriptura [by scripture alone], which positions the Bible as the sole infallible source of authority for Christian faith and practice?

Jesus says we must forsake everyone, even our former lives to be His disciple and have eternal life. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26).

“Whoever loves his life will lose it, but whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25).

Something amazing happens when we hear or read the Truth. The Holy Spirit works on our hearts [our minds] to recognize and accept that God speaking to us. It’s like a light being turned on in a dark room. God speaks to us in various ways, but mainly through the Scriptures. From the power of the Holy Spirit, and through our faith, we receive the light of the truth, which transforms our minds, thoughts, characters, and lifestyles into righteousness.

Do you feel comfortable with your current belief system and do not have the desire to change? We can live righteously when we know our beliefs are in total alignment with the Scriptures and daily we maintain our relationship with Christ through prayer and Bible study. Are you confident that when Jesus comes you will receive your reward of eternal life? Obedience to God’s truth reveals itself in knowing that we will be saved when Jesus comes.

If your beliefs have come from people and not the study of the Bible under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, take action!

First, perform a self-reflection: Identify the reason that you may not know God’s truth. Is it from the lack of knowledge–not studying the Bible? Are you holding on to traditional but contrary beliefs not to offend or lose family and friends?

  1. Set aside a period of fasting from the distractions of life.
  2. Make a list of your current beliefs.
  3. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s truth before you study.
  4. Study the Bible with the mindset to accept Sola Scriptura.
  5. Pray for the conviction and courage to change and accept the Truth.
  6. Pray for guidance if you need to change your church. God will reveal a Bible-based church that teaches its members to prepare for Jesus’ Second Coming.

Caution: Before you listen to or read anything with religious content, pray first and ask the Holy Spirit if it is God’s truth! Many of the online articles, published books, social media posts, and videos are not biblical truths!

We have Divine Help! “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26).

The desire to receive our reward of eternal life requires obedience. In Genesis chapter 12, verse 1, God told Abram to leave his family and country, and he obeyed even though he had no idea where he was going.

We are sojourners traveling every day on our spiritual journey. God never expects us to struggle alone. Pray daily for guidance, wisdom, and discernment from the Holy Spirit. One day, very soon this earthly life will end. We will have to forsake many of our family and friends to follow Christ. Yet, the Truth and Transformation that we receive from the Holy Spirit will prepare us for our Heavenly home.

I Am Coming Quickly–“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (Revelation 22:20-21).

Prayer: God, we pray for the anointing, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit. Lord, we pray for those who are in the valley of decision as they reflect on their beliefs. We pray for discernment as we study the truth of Your Holy Scriptures. We ask for guidance and wisdom in our daily lives as we prepare for Your soon coming. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of Jesus, Amen.

© 2023 Steps2successwith spiritualsolutions

Author: steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

It takes courage, perseverance, faith, and trust to serve God in today's unstable world. Yet, we are never alone. Pray daily and pray often. Study the Bible. The Scriptures are a Love Letter from God to those who accept Jesus as their personal Savior. You will receive comfort, knowledge, and wisdom. God says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." Jeremiah 31:3. Be blessed in Jesus' name. Amen.

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