Thursday, January 26, 2012
"TRADITIONS HELP SHAPE OUR IDENTITY"
Good Evening to All!
At that time the Lord said to Joshua, "Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time." (3) So Joshua make flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. ... (9) Then the Lord said to Joshua, "This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt form you." Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day. (10) Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. (11) And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. (12) Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year. (Joshua 5:2-3, 9-12 NKJV)
This was the turning point in their lives. They began to eat the produce of the land which God had promised them.
When we belong to a club, an association, or even a group of friends, it gives us a sense of belonging. It helps us to feel accepted and helps us to gain a sense of identity. We are known as "someone's child, sibling, friend, or even as something as vague as a title or position such as the church secretary, or the club treasurer. Our relationships and and traditions help to define us.
As we read above, just before the Israelites were to enter the land of Canaan, their "promised land" from God, He required the males to be circumcised and the celebration of Passover. He did this so that they would remember their journey and celebrate it always. He wanted them to remember their identity as His chosen people. The significance of the circumcision was that it symbolized them belonging to God, and the Passover celebrated and symbolized God's care in delivering His people from Egypt.
Now to get to the heart of the matter. We today have traditions as well. Contrary to a rapid misguidance of watered down Christianity ( that may seem a bit harsh, but this is near and dear to my heart), we need baptism. There are a lot of people who now for some reason (after believing in the importance of baptism for years) all of a sudden say it isn't necessary for salvation anymore. Granted, it is symbolic, but so is celebrating Passover, or Communion and we continued with those traditions. God felt strongly enough about it to command it be done, so we do it. God felt strongly enough about baptism to include that in His Plan of Salvation according to Acts 2:38, not to mention the fact that He even had Jesus baptized by John the Baptist. What gives us the right to altar the commandments, or the traditions which are hundreds even thousands of years old?
Baptism signifies that we belong to God. It signifies that we are buried with Christ and His blood has washed away our sins, and then rising out of the water is the "resurrection. The beginning of a new creature. The communion symbolized the sacrifice of Jesus, the Bread of Life for us. His body and His blood.
The Cross signifies Jesus' earthly body's death, and His resurrection so that His Spirit could come back to earth as our comforter and live within us.
We live in the "world" but our "true" identities should be as Children of God.
I know, I know, many people would argue the fact that we are God's creation, so we are all automatically "children of God". I am sorry, but I have to say we are not. We ARE God's creation. He formed us out of dust, He breathed the breath of life into us.
The thing is, if we don't live for God, if we don't abide in Him and abide by His commandments we are not Children of God. His word says that we must do these things. His plan says we must accept Jesus as our Savior. It says we must worship Him in spirit and in truth. We must love Him with all of our mind, body strength, and soul. If we don't do this we are none of His.
In His Word, He tells us that even the devil knows His name. To me that says that just because we say we believe in Him and we accept Him, words are just that, words. As the old saying goes, "Actions speak louder than words". I'm not talking about "good works" alone. I'm talking about the actions which come from our heart.
It kind of reminds me of when someone does something for me because I bug them to death. If their heart is not in it, and they REALLY didn't want to do it for me, then it means nothing. A funny example came to mind. There is a movie out called "Break Up" with Jennifer Anniston and Vince Vaughn. They're having an argument because she wants him to do the dishes. I don't know what brings it about (I have only seen the previews), but she tells him the she wants him to WANT to do the dishes. (Like that's really gonna happen!)
Anyway my point is that if I have to beg or force someone to do something, it means nothing because it doesn't come from their heart. God wants us to love Him because we want to . He wants us to follow His Word because we Love Him and want to do it.
Can you imagine living for an ETERNITY with someone who you know doesn't love you or care about how you feel ? I wouldn't want to. I don't imagine God does either.
It may seem as though I strayed from the original subject, but I will try and tie this together.
We have earthly identities as mothers, daddy's, sons and daughters. We are friends, secretaries, and many other identities yet we are one person.
The MOST IMPORTANT identity we can ever be known as is a CHILD OF GOD. The only way to have that identity is to know God, to Love God and to accept Him for who He is, our Savior and Father in Heaven. We owe Him everything. Yet all He wants is what we would give our Earthly dad, which is our undying love and devotion. Is that too much to ask for someone who allowed Himself to be taken as a lamb to the slaughter?
I THINK NOT. Remember your identity.
Good Night to All and May God Bless!