Why Traditions Will Make You Break Commandments

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Daily Reading: Genesis 37-38 GW; Matthew 15 GW

Traditions can mislead.

Jesus is addressing the Pharisees in today’s verse.  He’s making a distinction between “the command of God” and Jewish Tradition.  The Pharisees didn’t understand why Jesus and His disciples didn’t wash their hands before eating.  These were oral traditions passed down from generation to generation. In other words, the Pharisees are concerned with outward appearance more than inward cleansing.  

“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is pointless, because their teachings are rules made by humans.’ ” (Matthew 15:8-9 GW)

Jesus is telling the Pharisees, “You’re missing the point.”  Because they focus on tradition, they miss what Jesus is trying to teach.  Living a life of faith requires a spiritual connection with our heavenly Father.  He’s more concerned about our relationship with Him than any human traditions.  When we consume ourselves with tradition, we break God’s commandments.  The Pharisees worried about making the physical world look good but were not concerned with the sinful nature that lives within all of us.

God’s commands cleanses us inside.

Washing their hands put on a show for the people around the Pharisees.  They were trying to impress the crowd, not God.  What Jesus wants is for us to have a relationship with God beyond what people can see.  If all we care about is outward appearance, we’ll miss the internal transaction God yearns for us to have.

You can only have one master.  In the simplest of terms, you will follow man or God.  If you get caught up in man’s traditions, you’ll miss God’s commands.  Without God’s commands, you cannot fully connect to Him.  Only as you practice Jesus’s teachings will you find life to the fullest.


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Lord, thank You for sending Jesus to show us the way.  Thank You for His teachings; help take our focus off outward appearance and place it on Your commands.  Forgive us the times we get caught in human tradition.  Help us to identify the areas of our life where we’re breaking commandments because of misguided focus.  Our hearts are for You; our lives are Yours.  Today and every day, draw us into a deeper relationship with You.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection:

What human tradition is causing you to break God’s commandment?

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