We all have traditions that are practised in our countries. In Japan, where I currently reside, many traditions and cultural practices have been passed down through generations. One of the traditions practised is throwing beans to ward off evil spirits. This is done on February 3rd of every year during Setsubun (division of the seasons).
They believe this action symbolises the chasing away of evil spirits from their homes to welcome fortune for the current year. In Jamaica, where I'm from, when a loved one dies, they usually pour rum around the area the individual will be buried. This is also done to appease the spirits.
Many of us take part in the traditions practised by our countries or families without being conscious of the harm some of these practices may bring. We often need physical evidence to verify the danger, and if we haven't seen it, we believe that the activities are completely safe. Some of us would go as far as to defend some of these customs. We must question these practices, know the reason for doing them, and see if they are contrary to the word of God.
What are some of the traditions we follow that are not biblical? What are practices we engage in because it has always been done in our families? In a world filled with deception, our traditions are not the only things we should question.
The scripture reminds us to "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ" (Colossians chapter 2, verse 8)
I was talking to a student recently, and she showed me a bracelet that someone gave to her. She said she was told that it would bring her luck and make her rich. I believe that naturally, as human beings, we want good things to come to us. However, the Bible reminds us to “seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew chapter 66, verse 33). There is nowhere in the Bible that tells me I can earn things or get certain rewards from physical property.
The word also states, “Do not conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable.” (Romans chapter 12, verse 2)
Do not conform
This simply means that we should not engage in things the world does. Not everything we see the world doing is right in the eyes of God. We should be willing to stand out and stand up for God. Not many people will understand your view or even support you, but God values obedience, and his opinion should be the only thing that matters.
Renewing our minds
The things we entertain the most become a part of us. Hence, we must be careful of the activities we indulge or engage in, some activities might seem innocent, but if it takes your attention from God, then something is wrong. For our minds to be renewed, we need to spend time daily with God and meditate on his word.
Allow the word to become a part of us. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews chapter 4, verse 12). The word is what convicts us and keeps us on the right path.
It is also vital for us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (St. Matthew chapter 22, verse 3) and to have confidence in our God. Isaiah chapter 41, verse 10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
The most important thing that we can do as children of God is to walk in obedience no matter the cost. Remember, the benefits of living for Christ outweigh the cost by far. There's simply no loss.
Latanya Fraser Cato is an elementary school teacher who enjoys reading and writing poetry. She is currently a Sunday school teacher at her church in Japan and has served on various youth-related ministries both in church and school in her home country Jamaica. She has a passion for counseling and helping others. She has published a book of poems entitled Soul’s Inspiration which she hopes will assist individuals facing various challenges..