Are we following the traditions of men OR God?
"Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat." 3 He answered them, "And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.' 5 But you say, 'If anyone tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is given to God, 6 he need not honor his father.' So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. 7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 8 "'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'"
According to a Barna survey only 9% of people claiming to be born again attempt to live their lives according to the Word of God. The scribes and Pharisees wrote down ways to fulfill the Word of God that allowed them to fulfill their internal sinful desires and still externally appear righteous. The church today has not written down the ways to keep the Word of God that allows them to indulge the sin nature, instead they have adopted the ways of the world, not learned the Word of God and appear righteous by attending church.
The biggest tradition of man in the church today is, "I can keep sinning without repentance and God's grace will cover my sin." Another tradition of man is similar, "I can go against God's word to make life easier for me because God's grace will forgive me." This tradition carries the rationalization that God doesn't want us to suffer to do His will, i.e. suffer in a challenging marriage or suffer by remaining pure until God provides a mate or suffer less material pleasure in order to fund the work of God.
The truth is that God's grace will enable us to suffer with joy while doing His will (Acts 5:41; 2 Corinthians 7:4; Hebrews 12:2).
How do we keep from voiding the word of God by living according to the traditions of men?
Be testing every area of our thinking and lifestyle by the Word of God. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:21, "Test everything and hold fast to what is good." We do this by learning the Word of God.
Our basic way of learning is reading the Bible daily and systematically year after year depending on the Holy Spirit to teach it to us as He promised (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit will enable us to live what He teaches us daily (Ephesians 1:13-14, Ephesians 1:19-20; 3:20).
We test our thinking and lifestyle by asking three questions:
Are you voiding the Word of God by thinking and living according to the traditions of men?
Are you letting the Word of God transform your way of thinking and living?