Culture can be defined as the ideas, customs and social behaviour of a particular people or society. It is a way of life.
Majority of the customs and tradition we practice today have been long-standing. They have been passed down to us by our elders and ancestors.
“It is impossible to give what you do not have”.
Based on the above saying, if our forefathers were idolatrous, we can, by deductive reasoning, tell the substance of what we have received and learnt from them. These learnt behavioural patterns become a part of us; we practice them because we have seen those before we do the same. It becomes all that we know.
Proverbs 14:12 says: There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end, it leads to death.
“Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”(1 cor 3:18)
We need to be careful of customs, traditions and regulations that contradict and nullify God’s command; Put them to test under the light of God’s word.
According to Colossians 2:23 “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”
Watch out for customs that pull you towards idolising anything or any person besides Elohim, our Abba father. Watch out for traditions that permit and justify self-worship and the coercion of obeisance using obligation, fear, intimidation and guilt.
“He has not given us the spirit of fear” (2 Tim 1:7)
Idolatry is a heart matter. It focuses on displacing God’s image out from our hearts and placing the image of the idol (anything and Anyone) instead. Idolatry causes a divide and mars our intimacy with God.
We are transformed into the likeness of the image that dominates our hearts.
“Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them”.(Psalm 115:8)
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 cor 3:18)
We might be professing believers; Without our minds being renewed by the word of God(Romans 12:2), we will relish the self-serving the ways of our elders and forefathers, hold on to their dogmas which ultimately become habits that die hard, and inevitably incur God’s wrath, if we fail to retrace our steps and repent.
They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. 41 Even while these people were worshipping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day, their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did. (2kings 17:40)
Genesis 31:19″When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household gods. (Read Genesis 31:17-20)
Rachel’s desire to have some items from her old home shows that:
- She probably wanted to have with her something she was familiar with.
- If idols were made of valuable material, she might have taken them for financial gain.
- She may have had faith in the superstitions and pagan spiritual practices embraced by her father’s household.
Today, many Christians have difficulty letting go of non-Christian practices that exist as part of custom and tradition.
“And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men-the washing of pitchers and cups and many other such things you do.”9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God that you may keep your tradition. (Mark 7:7)
Until we allow God to take his rightful place and make him number one on the list of one in our lives, we worship him in vain. Our hearts must be dedicated to him alone. Matt 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on, you will be at war.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
John 4:24 says: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and truth.”
Mans Tradition or Gods Word?
Hear what Jesus has to say in:
Matt 15 “Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honour your father and mother and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.5 But you say that if Anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honour their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
8 “‘These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.
“Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!
Adhering to the obligatory standards of the ways of our forefathers comes with being entangled with the yoke of bondage (Slavery).
“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they are not willing to lift a finger to move them”.(Matt 23:2 2)
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage”.(Gal 5:1)
Another translation says:
“In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submitted again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off].” [AMPC]
JESUS ABOLISHED THE UNNECESSARY, OBLIGATORY AND UNPRODUCTIVE REQUIREMENT OF MAN.
Col 2:8“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”
14“Having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. I5 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
18 “Do not let Anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.
19They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:
21“Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?
22These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.
23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
“If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD, your God, will set you high above all the nations on earth. (Deuteronomy 28:1)
There are no in-betweens with God.
We are either serving and obeying the Lord wholly, forfeiting all self-serving non-christian practices that have got its origin in paganism or we are not serving him at all. God does not want a part but the whole of our being. He is seeking for those whose hearts are devoted to him, his laws and commands.
“So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth”.(Rev 3:16)
“Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always”.(Deuteronomy 11:1)