Toxic Traditions :: By Edwin Tan

Some of us still have quite a bit of baggage from our heathen past to contend with after giving our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. Traditions handed down from our ancestors are part and parcel of this unwelcome package. For those who walk in the Living Word, the enabling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit is more than sufficient for an understanding of the significance of these practices. One thing is for sure; we get it in our heads that there are elements of the fallen nature that have no place in our lives – these run counter to what is stated in the Word of God!

“He answered and said to them, ‘Why do you also transgress the Word of God because of your tradition?'” (Matthew 15:3).)

Bear this in mind; once we have surrendered our lives to Christ, there is no room for impartiality – the Lord is displeased with the double-minded! The insistence that there is no big deal where a needless digression is concerned amounts to a fallacious idiosyncrasy. There are those who think that the Lord would not mind a wee bit of stepping back. Absolute hogwash!

It only gets a whole lot worse when this line of argument dictates a lifestyle. No such thing as getting away with a solitary fling. There is that propensity to have another one at some point, and it just goes on with a string of follow-ups. Just like a little leaven that eventually messes the entire loaf!

Peer pressure would be a popular excuse for caving in. Simply for the sake of pleasing the crowd, there is that keeling over. Herein is the problem: these folks see God as someone who lived up in the heavens and half bothered – whereas the people in their immediate social circle mattered more. A blatant lie from the pit of hell! The root of the problem is that they do not have the time to know the Lord and believe wholeheartedly in His Living Word. These folks have the erroneous assumption that all will be lost should they displease their family, friends and colleagues. There are probably a lot of people with this kind of mindset groping around in the dark.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it'” (Matthew 16:24-25).

On a personal note, the above-said passages from the Gospel have been my bulwark when challenged with peer pressure. This is especially so during the Lunar New Year, which is celebrated by ethnic Chinese. A lot of the traditions reek of worldliness. There is the emphasis on luck which clearly runs counter to believing in the unfailing promises of our Lord. There is a ubiquitous presence of good fortune’s deity during this season, a figurine that purportedly ushers in luck!

I certainly do not entrust my destiny to lady luck but rest wholeheartedly on the grace and mercy of the Lord. I have in the recent past demonstrated this in gatherings that included some practicing Christians. They would enthusiastically participate in the ‘toss’ – a practice that is supposed to herald an endless flow of good luck. The ‘toss’ involves a salad comprised of uncooked vegetables and raw fish. The participants would stir the large plate with their chopsticks for a little over a minute. Then they would have a loud utterance (luck in Mandarin or dialect) before partaking of this concoction. I stayed away from this, but surprisingly, almost all the participants of this ritual respected my position as a workman of Christ!

“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

At the end of the day, we must sincerely believe what we have been taught. We must put the Word of God into practice with all seriousness and diligence. In this manner, many will see the salt and light in us, that we be effective ambassadors for Christ!

We are, without question, living at the cusp of Daniel’s seventieth week. There is heightened demonic activity as the Tribulation draws close. The adversary and his minions are relentless in their onslaught against all of humanity, especially the Body of believers. The malevolent forces will pounce on every crack and crevice that gives them the upper hand. What might appear to be a harmless practice could serve as a springboard for an all-out spiritual assault.

So there is no place for leaving everything to chance. We have to make up our minds right at this moment, jettisoning the things of the fallen nature and putting on Christ in our lives. In so doing, we deny the enemy that opportunity for devastation and destruction. Not even a fraction of a millimeter to be yielded!

Take to heart what is said in 1 Kings 18:21.

“And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two options? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people answered him not a word.”

For those who are caught in that neither here nor there quagmire, it is time to get serious. Time is indeed running out. That quicksand of half-belief is enough to hold you down while the rest of the Body of Christ gets suddenly and mysteriously taken out of the world at an unspecified moment. The deal is not sealed until every element of unbelief is done away with – earthly traditions included!

“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

It is time to forget about the perishable things of this fallen planet. Time to focus on an imperishable eternity with Christ.

Yours in Christ


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