End of year is a good time to think about tradition. Here is a tradition that began at Pentecost. Due so to the successful culmination of God's plan you are in Christ and Christ is in the Father. This is your place as a Believer. But more than this, the trinity lives in you.
We are the new creation when Christ is our life. But the old creation when drawing strength from anything less than Jesus Himself. Human beings live from their culture. Some cultures are more life-giving than others. The world culture has been called Babylon and Egypt. The new birth of the individual becomes the new creation in the church and the world when we live from who we have been made: The manifest presence of God. A son of God does not live from His culture. She lives from God because Christ is her life. Our role is not to be conformed to any culture. It is to be the yeast and the leaven that transforms cultures and the world.
Traditions can be a lot of fun. A growing Christmas tradition over recent years in our area has been to festoon shrubs and trees with festive lights or even to create whole scenes using lights in the front gardens of the homes.
Christ as us is spirit and light.
Traditions are meant to be enjoyed. Not to be lived from. Sons of God never live from the projections of humanity. They live from the son of God because they are formed by Him in the Spirit. In some societies ethnic tradition is the state religion and people who diverge from this are persecuted. In Western societies civic religion can hold sway that is a veiled form of self worship. Christians can unwittingly idolize tradition in the worship of religion as a substitute for Jesus. Not a few assume it is Jesus and seek their identity in that tradition.
DO YOU FIT GOD’S THEOLOGY?
A guest speaker once told us, when assembled at a conference, of the life and creativity that is liberated in those whose life is Jesus and not the law. He was talking of Christ's resurrection life igniting our being, breathed out as a collective breath of God to make dead things live. But alas. One of our leaders responded, 'We will have see how that fits with our theology.'
There is only one real theology and this theology is that Christ is our life.
The tragedy was that 'our theology' was out of sync with God's theology of the new covenant and the new and living way of Jesus as our life. To this day some have stumbled along like a man going up the hallway of his house bumping into objects because he is not fully awake. He's not yet out of His coma. Like a sleep walker who has glimpsed the fullness of life without experiencing His infinity, he shuffles along in a half-life, groping for the Spirit. Sadly, speaking the Spirit yet bound to the law because he is encased in an identity and tradition he will not let go. But we are awake and alive when Christ alone is our life.
Jesus loves His people. But He does not nurture what He did not plant. Holy Spirit comes to lead us to the fullness of Jesus and our life in Father. He will never lend His anointing to tares.
There is a tradition and an identity that started before creation and has been manifest by Jesus as the new creation. The question is, are you part of it? Or are your wallowing in some version of the knowledge of good and evil?
TARES IN FRUITS CLOTHING
Religion that takes the name of Christ while being a negation of all that Christ has achieved is a most unfortunate tradition indeed. Particularly is this so when one is tied to an identity in a culture that makes Jesus and ourselves smaller than we are by robbing us of the new covenant in the name of 'our theology.' I am talking of traditions that are either bound to the law or trapped in a performance mentality.
Don Atkin asks,
'Will we give life and authority to our tradition, and nullify the word of God? Or, will we die to any aspect of self that would demand continuing adherence to that tradition, and walk away absolutely free to live in His Spirit with joyful obedience? ... We may need help from one another because we do not always see our own traditions - the ones that might be binding our spiritual progress.' Jesus and the prophets lamented that God's people had ears that did not hear and eyes that could not see because they were nailed to their tradition. There is a sharpness, a discernment, a creativity and radical boldness that is ours when Jesus is our life. Such penetrating vision is simply not there when we have a religion of law with Jesus appended or a religion of churchiness and habit with Jesus as a footnote. Why? Because an unadulterated Jesus is life itself. Jesus is life and so are we when in Him. When Jesus is our life we are alive and 'our life is the light of men.'
Another astute speaker at a conference I attended once remarked, 'There is a war against the fullness of Christ.' Of course there is. Satan knows that Jesus is life itself (Himself) so he does all he can to rob us of that fullness while leaving us tied to a caricature of His person. Don't be fooled by attempted robbery. Live in 'Jesus stuff' and you will be stuffed. Live in Jesus and you will resurrect the stuff and give it the life and purpose of Jesus.
Life in the Spirit is opposed by religious and political spirits but the Holy Spirit is careless and dismissive of the suppositions of religion. God hates blindness and death, particularly the captivity and inhibition that poses as life in His name.
THIS LIFE IS IN HIS SON
Anything that is not Jesus is not alive and anything that is not Jesus is not real. Whether this is the devotional habits and patterns that you value or whether it is long held beliefs that contradict or dull the gospel of the Kingdom, anything that is not Jesus is life-denying. There is a now-life in Jesus that can never be emulated in the safety of custom, tradition or religion. This now life is the life Jesus modelled as one who was one with His Father. Doing what His Father was doing was not a moment by moment routine of rigour and relentless concentration. It was the rest of the son of man who found repose in being one with His Father. It was peace, life and fruitfulness in the Spirit of sonship. This spontaneous, relevant life is your life as daughters and sons. You are agents of the new creation. Immersed in Father we are manifest as our real selves: The sons of God.
Again Don Atkin writes,
'Tradition is continually being challenged by the spontaneity of the life-giving Spirit. The life-giving Spirit is continually being challenged by our traditions. Tradition can be a real Spirit quencher!' As daughters and sons of the Kingdom of life we have a privilege and a responsibility. It is to challenge and annul all forms of death in the authority given us in the Spirit of Life and Sonship.
'Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that' Mark 7.13 NIV.
'The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life' 1 John 6.63 NIV.
'And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death' Romans 8.2 NIV.