God’s Glory and Grandma’s Traditions

Steven Furtick: What you hold up as a tool for transformation today can easily become an idol of tradition tomorrow.

He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones, and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. —2 Kings 18:4

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

The bronze snake had at one time been an instrument of transformation. It healed people. Saved them from the consequences of their sin. But then the people turned it into an object of worship. And thereby ruined it and robbed it of its power.

This is the essence of traditionalism. It’s not simply holding onto Grandma’s preferences. It’s when we take things. Good things. Effective things. And we end up worshipping them instead of the God who used them for a season. And it can happen to anything.

Hymns. Or modern worship.
Live preaching. Or video preaching.
One campus. Or multiple campuses.
Sunday school. Or small groups.

None of these are bad things, but they’re also not the ultimate thing. And therefore, we shouldn’t treat them as such.

Otherwise, we run a dangerous risk. The very thing that you hold up as a tool for transformation today can easily become an idol of tradition tomorrow.

And God has a way of smashing our idols. Or rendering them powerless.

Don’t get me wrong. We should never lose our appreciation or respect for the things God uses to reach people and transform their lives. But we should also never allow them to steal God’s glory by becoming a greater object of our affections than God or the new ways He wants to work among us.

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God’s glory is greater than Grandma’s traditions.

And our own as well.

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Steven Furtick is the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church. In just under seven years, Elevation Church grew to more than 12,000 people in weekly attendance, meeting at seven locations in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Elevation has been named one of the fastest growing Churches in America by Outreach Magazine for each of the past six years.

Pastor Steven has been privileged to minister to a global audience, speaking at conferences and churches around the world, including Catalyst Conference, Hillsong Conference, and the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. He is the author of the best selling book “Sun Stand Still” and the New York Times Best-Selling follow-up, “Greater.” Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.