Tradition in a Believer’s life can become the biggest threat to moving forward in God’s divine purpose. It can imprison people and stifle the guidance of the Holy Spirit. “We all want progress, but no-one wants change“. This well known quote stands true. There will be no progress without change. Albert Einstein, the great physicist, defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results!
Let us rise to the challenge. Is this a picture of me? What change is God requiring in my life? There is a shift, a new model, example in this dispensation of the church age that the Lord is requiring us to move in to.
Jesus came to the earth as the mediator of the new covenant. Hebrews 8:13 “In that he says, a new covenant, he has made the first old. Now that which decays and waxes old is ready to vanish away”. (See also Hebrews 8:8, Hebrews 12:24). The traditional church of Jesus’ day did not embrace the new example He ushered in, and they missed it. They rejected the long awaited Messiah because He did not fit in to their traditional way of thinking or of doing things. Their refusal to embrace the provision God sent is indelibly printed in the pages of history as a sobering warning.
In the progress of photography a paradigm shift took place when digital photography took over from film. The old method of developing film still worked, but the digital market was superior in many ways. There is no need of a dark room for developing film with digital, it is all done on a computer. Many in retail photography who refused to move forward in line with progress, believing it would never replace the old, lost their businesses as they stayed in the tradition of the old. If I do not get on board with God’s new order, I will be left stuck in old tradition.
God has used and blessed the mega churches, but what God blesses, does not necessarily mean He sanctions. God meets man where he is in his believing and choice, but there is a difference in His permission and His ultimate divine purpose. We can limit God by our choice. In the Old Testament, the children of Israel demanded a king to rule over them, so they could be like all the other nations, (1 Samuel 8). They rejected God as their divine leader and authority and wanted it through a man. Many throughout the church age have been the same, wanting to follow “a man”, instead of following Jesus Christ and hearing the voice of God for themselves. Every man used of God, should point the way to Christ, not to himself. Of course, new converts need shepherding and teaching but always being encouraged to learn to hear the voice of God for themselves. We all make mistakes along the way, but they are learning curves on our journey with the Lord, all part of our progress and not to be viewed as stumbling stones. There is no such thing as waste in the economy of God. He uses everything to teach us His ways. When I walk in humility with my Master and Teacher, He shows me that I can learn from my failures that there is a better way, His way. Philippians 4:1 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. His way, His strength, His enablement – It is all of Him! Christ in me, the hope of glory – God’s glory not mine! The Lord Jesus waits to be invited in to my weakness. Our limitation in our own strength can shape us as we push in to God, learning to trust Him and acknowledge Him in all our ways. This is our divine apprenticeship. Here the royal exchange begins to operate in my life as I yield to the indwelling Christ and His life is released through me.
So, what is the shift from my old tradition to the new model that God is requiring for progress on my journey with Him? God is not governed by numbers. Matthew 18:20 Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” The way the traditional church has operated has to change. We are not free to live our lives to ourselves in the week, then meet on Sunday to “get in to the presence” to praise God. It is important “not to neglect the assembling of ourselves together” where He has placed us in His Body, but we should be living in God’s presence every day in our ordinary lives, seeing Him in every situation, consulting Him, listening and hearing His voice, learning to be sensitive to the promptings of our divine Guide, the Holy Spirit. Then when we do come together on Sunday, or whatever day we assemble together, it should be a joyous celebration of our Heavenly Father’s greatness and testimony of our week.
Good works, prayer, fasting or Bible study as a means to make me more acceptable to Christ, and in my mind, a better Christian, will never work. Good works will never produce and release the divine life of the Indwelling Christ in me. But when I live a surrendered life to Christ and walk in humility with Him, laying down my will for His, then as I abide in the”Vine”, He will produce His fruit in my life. Good works will operate out of the divine life within, preferring others before self, intimacy with Him will produce prayer and a desire to read His word, but now I am motivated differently and able to live and move in the finished work of Christ. Jesus said that His disciples would be known by the love that they have one to another, (John 13:35). The love of God is pure, does not condemn or judge, but loves unconditionally. Do I? Only when my life is hidden in Christ will the Christ in me be seen.
The “new model” will not be motivated to be seen and acknowledged of men, desiring ministry to elevate one in man’s eyes, seeking to appear more spiritual for the praise of men. This is all “wood, hay and stubble” in God’s eyes. God is seeking a people who will acknowledge Him in the midst of every negative….and positive…. daily circumstance. Whatever I hold on to in dead tradition, will limit the Lord in my life and the progress He wants to lead me into. The revelation He shows me is to be applied to my life, not just spoken about with others. Do I want to be among the number that are so “enchanted yet so unchanged”? – (Oswald Cambers)
Moses was described as the meekest man that ever lived, yet never entered the Promised Land because he did not sanctify the Lord’s name at the waters of Meribah. Joshua and Caleb, 2 out of millions of their generation were the only ones who entered the Promised Land. Will I be one of the few, or one that stands aloof? When I grumble and complain, I too, am guilty of not sanctifying the Lord’s name, as He is Lord of my life and every circumstance. The move is on. Today I can make the choice for change. God will seal my choice as I listen and submit to His divine Guide, the Holy Spirit. It is a new pathway but the Living Word will be a light to our path and a lamp to our feet. Let us make the choice to move forward into the beyond of God.