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  • Kelli Rae Wilson

when church tradition hurts our faith

Our relationship with God is a "relationship". Not a tradition. Traditions in the church can kill our relationship with Christ.

The last few months I have noticed more human value on traditions within the church, than another other time. Traditions in-general are great. Traditions are fun, they give honor, they create great memories. Mostly, they give a good staple or timeline of when you committed to doing something within the church. But if that's all you are doing to "know" Christ, please consider this.........

For a moment we need to look at Christ as a dad- a heavenly Father is what He is! Does our dad care more about the family tradition or the relationship we have with him? Whether youre a parent or not, this is something you can envision. If I take all 5 of my kids and create amazing sanctimonious traditions with them, yet never take the time to invest in getting to know them, then in the end, we have no relationship. We have robots. I can have my children so whipped on doing family stuff and even honoring me, but if I never take time to “know” them, or even; if they never “know me”, we have nothing. All we would have are some traditional (maybe even self-righteous) memories and probably a lot of fake photos.

Think about it. If all I created were the traditions like decorating the Christmas tree, eating at a dinner table every Sunday, a standard family vacation, or even sitting in a church pew with my children, but never took the time to talk with them and share my heart with them, then me and my kids have nothing. All we have are “time slots of nothing”. Do we have just “time slots of nothing” with GOD? Our church represents the Christian family and it is easy to get caught in tradition and yet never know your family's (church's) Father.

Are we signing up our children for confirmation, religious ed (ccc), youth group, memorizing Hail Mary’s, memorizing a blanket prayer at night or at the dinner table, but yet know nothing deeper about our Heavenly Father? Do we know all the traditions of first baptisms, first communions, adult baptism, the sacraments and even have a few scriptures memorized …but really, we don't know our FATHER? We don’t know Him because we don’t take the time to read HIS WORD.

*80% of all Christians admit they do not read their Bible Daily.

*63% of all churchgoers say they have (read the Bible) at least once in the last six months…. WOW.

We can have a relationship with God because our God, unlike other gods (like Allah), allows us to have the Holy Spirit in our lives and hearts. Our place with our God is not just a deep “devotion” or a honor to something we can never reach. One day we will reach our Heavenly Father. We also can actively feel His Spirit move in our lives here on earth. Other religions do not have that. We know this because those religions are dead and it's a hamster wheel of trying to do good works to please their false god. Our God, Christ, has given us God’s Word (the Bible), it is a living word. A true word from Him, to know Him better.

Some of the most “traditional” people in the Bible were the Pharisees and Sadducees!

Both the Sadducees and the Pharisees were religious parties in Jesus' day. Both were critical of and were criticized by Jesus. The Sadducees thought of themselves as "conservatives," as the Old Believers. This is because they accepted only the written Law of Moses as authoritative and rejected subsequent revelation.

These religious leaders were very legalistic.

Legalistic Means:


1.strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit.


a the doctrine that salvation is gained through good works.

b the judging of conduct in terms of adherence to precise laws.

We know from God’s Word we cannot achieve our eternity through good works.

Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

The problem with tradition in the church, is it can give a false identity or a false recognition on how to achieve the eternal prize. It also gives hopeless results for how to obtain a deep relationship with Christ here on earth. I have spoken to children and EVEN adults who go through the “church traditions” and then they are stuck. They have no idea what to do next and they get the false sense that they completed the now they are done. But deep down they know they can feel they are not done! We know as believers that we are NEVER DONE. That’s the blessing and the awestruck wonder of having such a Mighty GOD. Besides, who wants to worship a God that we don’t need forever? I love the fact that we are never done. We can read God’s Word 5,000 times and He speaks to us in different ways each time- because His Word is alive.

Like our relationship with our parents or our children. We would be incomplete if we only practiced traditions but had no communication line. It is sad that 45% of Christians do not pray daily! That is the life line to our heavenly Father. Prayer is how we talk to God, we give praise, we repent and we ask for help through prayer to God. Traditions do not aid in this. Imagine if we had traditions with our little children but we never had the opportunity to see them ask us for help, or see them give thanks to us. I value my one-on-one time with each of my children. It would be a dead relationship with my kids if I held so tightly to the family traditions but never knew them personally. What if our children treated us like a tradition. What if they went through the emotions but never spoke of us? What if they were just going through the emotions of routine but never got our backs, never spoke of the love they had for us publicly. God feels this way about our relationship with HIM. If our kids were ashamed of us or kept us as a tradition we would long for the deeper thing…the loyal relationship.

God wants to know us personally!!

Traditions are a public display of honor to God.

Our relationship with Christ is the daily “living” we have in HIM.

At the end of your life, all that matters and all that will save you is that relationship you have with Christ: not some ritual, not the length of your hair, not the clothes you wore, not how close you got to the Pope, not how many worship concerts you attended, not the number of mission trips you took, not the food you ate, not the prayers you recited, not the way you sang a worship song, not even the way you treated people. It's about the relationship you have with your Heavenly Father. Do you really KNOW HIM?

Colossians 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."

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!”

(1 John 3:1)

"... for this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

' (Ephesians 3:15)

Statistics on Christian’s praying:


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