If you read the bible carefully you will notice that everyone that God used to carry out His will had one thing in common…
None of them signed up, applied for or volunteered for the job.
If you notice, Yeshua went and drafted the Apostles while they were working on their job.
And as you know they all, except for the Apostle John, were killed for their faith and beliefs.
Our Savior even reminded us of who chooses whom, and His expectation of us…
John 15:16 (NKJV)
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and(B)appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father (C)in My name He may give you.
d(B)appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father (C)in My name He may give you.6 It’s okay to be ambitious and have the desire to do great things. It’s okay to have goals and to relentlessly pursue our passions. However, remember that many of the people who changed the world did not plan their path…especially those who lost their lives.
This is a spiritual post with political implications…
When Jesus’ disciples were observed eating without washing in the ‘prescribed’ manner they were criticized by those in authority, the Pharisees.
This expectation was a tradition that not only was accepted but expected. Anyone who didn’t do so had their loyalty to God and the tradition challenged. All in all, this was not something that God expected, but people. Just because it was the established expectation did not make it right.
Jesus sharply rebuked them and their silly traditions. The mere passion behind being compelled to defend a tradition, even to the point of death, makes it worship to me.
Any tradition that you cling to the point it is revered and question the loyalty of others if they feel it’s not right for them is too close to worship for me.
And, it was apparently too much for Jesus too…
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”
6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of youhypocrites, as it is written:
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—[a]the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”
9 He said to them, “All too wellyou[b]reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
Jesus said they REJECTED what God has said for their traditions.
This same dangerous thinking and practice continues today. Jesus said they set aside the commandments of God for the traditions of man.
For example, one of the hottest topics, debates and disagreements today is that of people disrespecting the American flag when they choose to ‘take a knee’ in protest to police brutality towards African-American men.
Personally, I love this country and would not want to live anywhere else in the world. I had uncles fight in World War ll and had two die just months before it was over. I had other uncles return home after fighting for their country to be treated like second class citizens. I currently have relatives serving in our armed services and have many friends who are police officers.
However, ever since I was able to read the bible for myself, I have felt uncomfortable standing and putting my hand over my heart for ANY flag. There’s a reason that God forbade us to honor, worship or acknowledge Him or anything else with graven images. The fact is that all idols aren’t made of stone, some are made of cloth. Does it take doing what seems to me as worshiping an idol to prove my respect? Just because this tradition was established doesn’t make it right. After all, there is also the established expectation to put one’s right hand on the bible and swear an oath while accepting an elected office or testifying in court…this is the same bible that our Lord clearly commands that we should never swear an oath. For more on this read WHY SWEAR IN COURT WHEN GOD FORBIDS IT?
Matthew 5:33-37 (NKJV)
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of [a]old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let [b]your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
James 5:12 (NKJV)
12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into [a]judgment.
God’s expectation can’t be any more clear than here, but still we persist in swearing-in officials. What kind of rebuke would someone suffer if he or she refused to be sworn in?
How dare person A tell person B that they aren’t loyal because person B feels a beloved tradition is in direct conflict to God’s word. In fact, person B could contend that person A’s devotion to that tradition contradicts person A’s loyalty to God.
It is not God’s will to put our love for country or anything else before our love for Him or obedience to His word.
God has given us the freedom to assume several postures in approaching Him. He allows us to kneel, stand, raise our hands, lay before Him etc. I discuss this more in the post… 9 BIBLICALLY PROPER PRAYER POSTURES… If God allows us to show respect, honor and praise for Him in several manners, who are we to demand more for ourselves or what we create?
So many of us today have become modern-day Pharisees in our expectation of others to honor the traditions that are dear to us, but are NOT requirements of God. There are many traditions and expectations that have endured for years and people have killed to defend that are in direct conflict with the word of God…hazing for example, that includes language and behavior (getting drunk, sex and violence) has become expected to become a part of many organizations and even upheld by Christians. I discuss this topic in the post THE UNHOLINESS OF HAZING: TRADITIONS FROM HELL…
Again, I love this country but I would be irresponsible as a man of God if I didn’t challenge us to reexamine some of our traditions…that’s what Jesus and His apostles did.
Remember, some idols aren’t made of stone, but cloth.
If this blessed or challenged you, I also invite you to read,
It’s interesting to me how we sometimes expect more of one another than God expects of us.
Those who are against athletes kneeling during the National anthem complain they are disrespecting the American flag and service men and women who have fought for it.
Those who support kneeling contend it’s a peaceful protest to bring attention to police brutality against African-Americans.
The protest escalated when the President of the United States used his podium and position of authority to call athletes who choose to kneel sons of b*****s. This is not only insulting them but their mothers. It amazes me that so many ‘Christians’ (especially Christian leaders) are not offended at that. Offensive language is disrespectful and forbidden by God.
My question is this. Why is kneeling considered disrespectful?
If GOD doesn’t consider ‘taking a knee’ to Him disrespectful…why should we?
God allows us to approach Him kneeling, standing, or sitting.
Do you always stand to honor God when you pray?
Do you always stand before God when you read His word?
Jesus did when He read the scripture publicly in the synagogue…do you ALWAYS do likewise?
Luke 4:16 (NKJV)
16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
Respecting a flag and the ideal behind is fine, but I will honor NOTHING more than I honor God.
Many of our traditions and expectations aren’t necessarily ordained by God…but merely traditions.
Remember how Jesus constantly rebuked the Pharisees for expecting more from the people than God did. How he rebuked them for being more passionate about traditions than devotion to God and His expectations.
Matthew 15:3 (NKJV)
3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?
In many ways, our country has set traditions that contradict what God commanded.
Think about it…
People are expected to put their hand on a bible and swear an oath to tell the truth when God forbids swearing in that same bible. That makes little since anyway since swearing on a bible means nothing to an unbeliever.
People are expected to take ‘an oath of office’ when God forbids it.
Matthew 5:33-37 (NKJV)
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
We must be careful that we don’t have the spirit of the Pharisees. It’s not fair for one base someone else’s patriotism on their expectations, perspective or traditions.
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