Obedience is fast becoming a dirty word. It used to have such great honour attached to it, but now it seems to have been stripped of all dignity as it slowly becomes the treachery of lost freedoms.
Our societal values are quickly shifting toward a culture of rights and rewards. There is a bigger emphasis on my happiness and my experience.
Rewind a generation or two, and you’ll see that obedience was a strong value. It was part of who we were. It was not the picture of a young man stomping his feet with arms crossed as he reluctantly dragged himself off to his dutiful obligations. It was the inspiring picture of a hearty smile backed with a willingness to please those we loved as we served them from a deep sense of gratitude.
These values were fondly looked upon as traditions. But as with all traditions, they become tired over time. Sometimes because they come with empty promises, and other times because they are executed from strong and overbearing authority figures.
Ancient traditions spring from timeless laws.
When God created the world He set things in motion to uphold a right way of living. Living this way, God’s way, produced a life of great fulfilment.
There was a tradition that Jesus lived through that still exists in some parts of the world. It was a washing of the hands before you sat down to eat. It had become ceremonial and was a strong custom observed by all. This tradition was originally about health and cleanliness.
When Jesus arrived and brought clarity, there were some traditions that were not as important as others. Washing your hands was one of them. The religious leaders were hot under the collar when they discovered Jesus’s disciples were not too thorough with this tradition. They asked Jesus, “why do your disciples break the traditions of the past by not washing their hands before they eat?”
“Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God?” (Matthew 15:3 NLT)
Religious leaders were using seemingly good traditions in a way that gave them a free pass from actually living by the spirit of the law. Jesus was quick to point this out.
When ancient traditions cut across timeless laws, we know we are trying to escape the beauty found in God’s divine nature. Knowing God and loving God is eternally connected to a life of obedience!