Following the Truth

“And he continued, ‘You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!’” –Mark 7:9 (NIV)

What is so appealing about tradition? It is surprising that even in a world of rapid technological advancement where what is new is advertised as being better, the idea of having traditions to hold onto remains strong. Traditions often have sentiments behind them. To go through the motions and rites of traditions preserved for countless years certainly has a sense of grandeur to it, and they come to form a part of our identity. But the problem with tradition is that it is often blindly followed. Soon what becomes the case is that people follow tradition not so much as a matter of it being right or wrong, but for the sole sake of clinging onto them regardless. Indeed history has shown that unimaginable atrocities have been committed in the name of upholding traditions that were never questioned even though they were clearly wrong.

Tradition, if it is not rooted in truth, can turn into a deceptive and destructive idol. Instead of being in obedience to Christ, we worship our traditions and allow them to turn us away from Him. Though we might mistake our upholding of tradition as religious zeal and piety, it in fact turns us into oppressors who have strayed far away from what Christ requires of His children.  How then can we obey God? It is only when we have allowed Christ to dwell within us. By acknowledging Him as Lord and allowing Him to enter our hearts, He will refine us and open our eyes to see His truth. As long as we seek to keep in step with Him we will understand how we must walk as His children; training us in His righteousness and love. In this we will find that the only traditions worth clinging onto are not those rooted in human sentiment or wisdom, but those which have their roots in Christ alone and what He has revealed to us in His Word.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

A Worthwhile Investment

“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” –Isaiah 55:2 (NIV)

None of us would waste money on that which is of no benefit to us. We have been taught to conserve our energy and resources for something that is worthwhile and in our best interests in the long run. Whether it is what we eat or the career path we choose to take, we want to be wise in our decisions and make the right choice so that we may live healthy lives and that nothing be done in vain. But though we desire this, we often fall short of them. How often do we frivolously spend our time, money, and energy on that which is corrupt and depraved? How often do we worry and lose sleep obsessing over our careers and plans. Though we think that these will give us satisfaction, they only provide an illusory contentment that will give way to grief and misery.

There is only one way through which we can find true and lasting satisfaction. Man was designed for a relationship with God so that we may dwell in His eternal and unfailing love. However, because of our sinful nature gained as a result of Adam’s disobedience against God, the relationship we formerly shared with Him has been severed. But God does not wish for it to be like this. For this reason He sent Jesus so that through His death and resurrection we may have the hope of being freed from our sin so that we may enter into a relationship with God and bear witness to His goodness. When we allow Christ’s Spirit to enter our hearts and carry out His work of restoration in our lives, we will find joy and peace that nothing on this Earth can match. Investing all that we have by surrendering ourselves to Him, we will find it more than worthwhile as Christ fulfils His perfect will for our lives. He will prove to us His love and faithfulness and by His Spirit give us a lasting satisfaction that will remain constant regardless of our circumstances.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

A Double Life

“If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?” –Psalm 44:20-21 (NIV)

It is fairly easy to tell when someone is being insincere. Somehow we are able to discern whether a person is saying something because they genuinely mean it, or if they are saying it simply to please or appease us. Things such as their tone of voice or their facial expressions can often be indicators as to the true intent behind their words. However, because our human understanding is flawed, even the most astute of minds can be deceived by those who are able to put on a good show. But while we may try and succeed to be thoroughly convincing to those around us in our claims and statements, our hearts could be far away from what our mouths confess. Though we may feel that our deception is flawless, there is One who cannot be fooled.

God is all-knowing. He has created us, and knows us better than we know even ourselves. Thus, He knows when we are simply paying lip-service to Him. He knows when our hearts have enthroned an idol that is not deserving of the primary place He should occupy in our lives. It is foolish for us then to think for a moment that we can successfully live a double-life before God for He knows our every thought and move before we even consider it! If anything we deceive ourselves into thinking that we can somehow convince God that we are sincere in our worship of Him when we are really not. God is very clear; no one can serve two masters. The question before us is whether we choose life with Him, or cling to our idols which lead us into despair and misery. When we allow the Spirit of Christ to enter our hearts and permit Him to carry out His redemptive work in our lives, we are assured that He will lead us according His perfect will so that we may find freedom in Him. Through the power of His Spirit in us, we are able to stand justified before God; not because of anything we can do, but because of what Christ has done and is doing in our lives.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.