Have you noticed that most of us don’t like to be challenged about our beliefs or traditions?  What is that phrase we’ve heard said, something like, “I’m comfortable where I am.  Don’t bother me with the truth.”  Sometimes a challenge to our beliefs/traditions produces an offensive response.  We get defensive, angry, fearful, or prideful and in some cases we close our heart and mind to the source of the challenge.  These negative and adverse responses seem to indicate we are threatened and insecure in our beliefs/traditions.  This way of life is self-inflicted bondage, and a trap that has the potential to defeat us in fulfilling our purpose and destiny in God.  Is it so hard to consider that we are all wrong about something in our beliefs/traditions?  After all, we are not God; we are not perfect and all-knowing.  He is the Truth.  A personal relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit will eventually sort out and correct our misbelief, unbelief and deception, and release us from whatever areas of darkness we have been living in.

Just look at all the differing beliefs within the Body of Christ.  Many different groups believe that their belief/tradition is correct and everyone else is wrong.  This approach to our differences divides and separates us and weakens our efforts in a lost world besides if we are antagonistic toward each other, are we not practicing spiritual bigotry?  I hardly think this is the way God intends the Body of Christ to interact and demonstrate His love to the world around us.

The power to overcome our error comes from love.  God is love.  His love is the only source of transformational power that humanity must have in order to fulfill our purpose for being.  Experiencing His love produces the internal desire to want to be right and do right according to Him and not our traditional beliefs.  That is not to say that all of our traditional beliefs are wrong but we all need repeated course correction as we pursue our own personal, intimate relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  If we are not open to His change we will be stunted and less effective in bringing transformation to our world.

Consider we as people drift over time and how we are influenced by changes in culture.  What was unacceptable to previous generations is now acceptable in society.  This nation was founded by Christians on Christian principles.  Our founders declared that our system of government that they established would not work properly if we departed from our Biblical foundation.  In spite of the warning, our national has steadily moved toward ungodly beliefs leaving behind our Godly foundation.  As a people we embrace the godless world and its values and principles when Godly people disagree or challenge ungodly opinions there is usually an angry degrading response.  Godliness, righteousness, and holiness are offensive to the mainstream today.  While our nation and our people steadily sink into the pits of hell, the Body of Christ remains for the most part divided, threatened, defensive and hiding behind church walls.  Now I know Father is moving in a powerful, life-changing way in and through His kids that are open to Him for relationship and are willing to let God do through them whatever He wants.  They are breaking tradition and being broken in the process.  That may sound like a negative, but it’s not.  Being broken by love is as positive as it gets!  Challenging?  Yes, but Father has wonderful ways of breaking our pride and besides, His love experienced produces humility and faith like nothing else can.

Think about a person in the world who is at their wit’s end and decides to look for God.  When they look at the Christian church what do they see…so many choices, so many differing beliefs, so confusing…who is right?  Where should I go to get the right answers?  Can anybody out there help me?  Is this the face of Christianity that Father wants us to present to the world?  I think not.  Too many of us in the church misrepresent our God by and through our religion.  Sadly, too many of us don’t realize that we are trapped in religion.  We keep doing the same things over and over again, going nowhere fast.  Remaining in a fear and performance based tradition that promotes an intellectual knowledge about God with a burden of rules that are required if you are to be considered a “good Christian!”  For the most part church leadership rules over the people very much like the Pharisees of Jesus day,  in spite of Jesus command to the disciples that it should not be so among them.  See Matthew 20:25-26.  This is why the deception of religion is offensive to God.  It becomes idolatry; a substitute for a true, personal relationship with God.

Have you noticed the many times we just accept what we are told by the church, or we just accept the examples demonstrated by the church?  For instance, when do we celebrate Jesus’ birthday?  Silly question, right?  Christmas time, of course!  Right?  Was Jesus born on December 25th?  We assume so since that is when we celebrate His birthday.  The truth is according to Biblical scholars, Jesus was born during the August – September time frame.  Does it really matter as long as we celebrate His birthday?  You must decide that for yourself.  It seems to me we should celebrate Him every day in personal communication and relationship.  How did Jesus’ birthday get mixed up with the lie and deception of Santa Clause?  A little study of church history can reveal a great deal if one is interested.  For example, look at Constantine.  When he declared Christianity to be the state religion, he began to build elaborate churches/cathedrals.  So in order to prosper and be somebody, pagans flocked to the new churches.  Church leadership began to compromise and accommodate pagan celebrations into the Christian church.  They even combined some Christian celebrations to promote harmony and acceptance between the two groups.

The celebration of Halloween is universally accepted in today’s culture.  Sadly, much of the Body of Christ also participates in this demonic celebration.  Most certainly wouldn’t want to offend anyone by taking a Godly stand against everything this tradition stands for.  There is nothing Godly, holy or righteous about Halloween and Christians should have no place in such godless activity.  Our tolerance, acceptance and participation in this tradition lends support to the seduction to the demonic, then we wonder why so many of our young people dabble in demonic activities.

What about the Easter bunny being yoked with our celebration with Jesus’ resurrection.  The resurrection of Jesus is truth and real and life giving.  The lie and deception of the Easter bunny most believe is just innocent fun.  Do you really believe that anything rooted in lies and deception can be innocent?  Lies and deception are satan’s territory, not God’s.  What is the root or source of the Easter bunny tradition?  Should we study to find out?  What about the tooth fairy?  This is another lie and deception perpetrated on our children.  Truth is it is another fantasy…another non-existent, unseen creature inserted into our children’s mind rooted in lies and deception by their parents and others.  Children believe their parents only to discover later that they have been lied to and deceived.  Trust can be broken and then when parents try to tell their children the truth about something, will the children believe them?

Santa Clause may be the biggest offense yet.  I have believed for many years now that the lie and deception of Santa Clause causes many people problems in their relationship with God.  When you combine the Tooth Fairy, the Easter bunny and Santa Clause all unseen, mystical beings all bearing gifts, but only to good boys and girls, you establish performance based relationships, not love based but performance based.  This is a set up for religion, so then when you introduce Jesus or God into the equation, what are the similarities?  He is unseen, a mystical personality, He comes bearing gifts but religion says you must perform right in order to get the gifts.  Religion pounds the list of performance requirements and expectations if you are to be considered a “good Christian” and acceptable.  So then, how much of the lies and deception we learned as children from the Tooth Fairy, the Easter bunny and Santa Clause do we unknowingly assign to God?  What kind of expectations do we put on Him and ourselves that cause trouble in our developing faith and relationship with God?

Statistics tell us that a vast majority of children raised in the church from childhood will leave the church when they leave their parent’s home to being their own life.  Why is that?  I believe that part of the reason is that every time we introduce lies and deception into any relationship, we weaken the foundation of that relationship.  Then when we want to speak truth into that relationship it does not carry the weight that it should.  Now a parent gets saved.  The first thing they want to do is share the love and joy they experienced in meeting Jesus with their family.  They go to their children and try to tell them they met this unseen, mystical person names Jesus and He is so wonderful and loving and kind and so on.  What is the child’s response?  If they are of age to know they have been lied to about other important, unseen mystical personalities are they likely to believe this time?

Looking back in my Christian walk, I can see how I put expectations on God and myself that were rooted in my childhood beliefs about Santa Clause and the others mentioned above.  I’m sure I’m not the only one.  Will we ever wake up as sons and daughters of the Most High God and be willing to break with traditions, deny the lies and deceptions, including the religious ones, and just simply go with God?

Choosing a Godly, righteous life will bring persecution.  The Word of God guarantees it, but this is our privilege to bring honor to our God and truly bring His love to bear on our world.  We must not be ashamed to be His kids.  We must be willing to bear the burden of His love and His truth as His gift to a dying world.  Let’s rescue as many as we can.

Love and blessings,