"Learn from me," said Martin Luther, "how difficult a thing it is to throw off errors confirmed by the example of all the world, and which, through long habit, have become a second nature to us. I had been seven years reading and publicly explaining the Holy Scriptures with great zeal, so that I knew them almost by heart. I had also, all the first fruits of knowledge and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ; that is to say, I knew that we are justified and saved not by our works, but by faith in Christ, and I even maintained openly that the pope is not the head of the Christian church by Divine right. And yet I could not see the consequences that flowed from this; namely, that the pope is necessarily and certainly of the devil. For what is not of God must needs be of the devil." Luther added further, "I no longer permit myself to be indignant against those who are still attached to the pope, since I, who had for so many years studied the Holy Scriptures so attentively, still clung with so much obstinacy to popery."
We, like Luther, are slow to fully accept anything that is contrary to our present beliefs, even if those beliefs are false. Once we have been programmed with a belief, be it true or false, we will act as if it is true. We then instinctively seek to collect facts to support that belief no matter how false it might be. No one will be able to convince us otherwise unless through a personal experience or study we are READY to change.
The truth of the matter is then, that we and only we can de-traditionalize ourselves. Until then we seek only those experiences which support our present beliefs and avoid, resist or, if necessary, forcibly REJECT those which are inconsistent with, or threaten our present beliefs.
When we become dissatisfied with the slavery of man's traditions and go to the source of the only light that can show the traditions up for what they are will we ever make a change?
First a person might read an article, say from The Examiner. He might get angry because it does not further his present belief. He might, as one woman said she did, throw it into the trash. However, a seed was planted. He then observes, through personal experience, the tradition he is steeped in, and is disturbed. This disturbance drives him to God's word. The light he allows to shine on the tradition is the only power that is able to show up the tradition. The article from The Examiner didn't show it up. The disturbance he felt didn't show it up. What showed it up was the power from the Light that came from God. As it penetrated the tradition it was then exposed.
Before we will be willing to shine the light though we must be willing to evaluate our present position. To do this we examine our motives. We know that God will judge our motives because what we do is done because OF our motives.
What are our motives for our present beliefs? Were the beliefs carried over from childhood? Who programmed, us to believe, as .we do on what the church is, for instance? Where did we get the information that seeped into our minds? Have we had the mistaken certainty that there are others who are smarter, wiser, or more intelligent than we, enabling THEM to tell us what God's will is? If so our faith is in men, not in God. Someone said, "You can never have your faith shaken by the fall of another person unless you are leaning on that person for that faith."
We all like to believe we are brave and will deny that we are cowardly which we believe to be the opposite. However, in reality the opposite of bravery is conformity. The brave person never invests another human being, a Board of anything, or institution (passed off as the body of Christ) with power to speak to him for God.
To be brave (courageous) is to seek God's will without the intimidations used today.
Success and freedom in our spiritual journey will come only when we become totally free from man's traditions; free from placing others over ourselves. Listen to what others have to say? Yes! Swallow what is said without shining God's Light upon it? Never!
The reality of the scriptures is the same to all of us. The way we see, or react to that reality will depend on how we have allowed our minds to be programmed. We cannot de-program ourselves until our motives are pure. Pure motives will guide us out of tradition and back to Jerusalem.
Say, we that love the Lord! What is it that unites us together? Is it man's traditions or is it the living Spirit of the crucified Jesus?
We cannot be de-traditionalized until we are de-programmed and then re-programmed by God Himself.
FREEDOM IN CHRIST OR BONDAGE TO TRADITION? THE CHOICE IS OURS.