16-year old Jerome sat still on the white leather ottoman, holding tightly to the precious thing in his left hand. The thing looked like messy cloudy waves sitting on top a sea of life-less muddy water. It was in a little cream-colored cup which had letters strewn around it in a circular pattern, alluring to the eyes and pleasing to the mouth. It was like gold to him, this triple layered chocolate-flavored vanilla swirl Jell-O pudding. Nothing could dare to replace it all these years, not since he was two and still breast-feeding. Anyone that tried to change him eventually gave up on him. It was his permanent way of life, his very own inundated tradition. He held on tightly like his life depended on it, not caring whether he was currently fifty pounds over what his Body Mass Index indicated was healthy for his age. It did not matter to him- what people said, or whether there was a healthier substitute. He loved the life he was living; he felt as good as Shrek feels when he's hidden in a solitary place where no one can tell his true ugliness.
He squeezed the cup and a little Jell-O dropped on his jeans. He looked downwards, and when he saw the stains the waterworks began. The tears fell freely, although they say a grown-up boy should never cry. He wanted to break it...he wanted to tear this silly tradition into two. But he just couldn't fathom a single good plan...
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Is your life based on a failing tradition? Have you been telling yourself to stop something, or even to start something new...but you keep falling short?
Hey, God always has His arms open with unlimited chances! You can easily stop your ancient tradition. You can stop your "Religiosity" and move on to "Intimacy" with God. You can tell yourself that you don't just want to hear or read the scriptures, but you want to actually "do" what it says. You know something? No one will ever see the things that you read...not even a neuro-surgeon as powerful as Ben Carson can understand the depth of your knowledge about God. Only you can.
You're the only one that can break your unnecessary traditions: listening on Sunday without really understanding the words, doing good without knowing why, giving alms without loving the poor, settling fights without having the peace of God within you, waking up in the morning without knowing who owns your breath, preaching the word without being the messenger, singing along to worship lyrics without really worshipping, stretching your arms to heaven without understanding where God sits, doing what you usually do at the middle of the night without knowing that He sees you, being prideful rather than running into His arms again.
We're in a ludicrous season when each man should know his own calling and his own plight. We're no longer in the era of 'group-hugs' and 'family affairs.' Rather, each person should be ready to break his or her traditions into something deeper. There's no use leaving this world with a steady-set of rules that cause you to live your life with no revelation. My message today is "Yes, you can change. Yes, you can change any old tradition and have a more meaningful life instead."
It's a new day...a new dawn. A time to put the old traditions in the thrash and break forth into a deeper understanding of who God really is..."To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?" Says the Lord. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or goats. Bring no more futile sacrifices...wash yourselves, make yourselves clean..." (Isaiah 1: 11-20). To me, the 'multitude of sacrifices' written here is representative of die-hard traditions which people find really hard to give up.
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