Webster’s Dictionary defines tradition as an inherited, established or customary pattern of though, action or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom.)
Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Of themselves, traditions are not a bad thing. We all have our traditions that we love and cling to. Sometimes traditions may bring us closer together or give us needed direction. Often traditions are handed down and we simply accept them as the norm.
When a message of salvation is preached it is a custom or tradition to give an altar call so the sinner can be saved. Most churches start the meeting with congregational singing. These are good traditions.
Israel had the tradition (it was the law) for their men to undergo circumcision. It was not a choice, it was required. However when Jesus gave His life at Calvary things changed. No longer was circumcision a physical act but it became a spiritual thing of the heart. It was time to move on. That tradition had a purpose but the time came when the old tradition was to be laid aside and a new one embraced.
Sometimes tradition is a cultural thing and although at its inception was by the direction of God its season may be over. Our tradition could block the way for God to do a new thing in our lives or churches. The important thing is that it is by direction of God and not of men. If God is endorsing what we do then it has a divine purpose and will at some point be a blessing. The Bible tells us that whatever we do we are to do it as unto the Lord. Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. God wants us to prosper in the things we do and if it is by God’s Word, it will be a blessing.
I remember a story of preparing a ham for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a family tradition to cut the end of the ham off. The daughter asked the mother why do we do that? The mother replied, “I don’t know, go and asked Grandma.” The daughter asked Grandma and Grandma said, “because the pan wasn’t big enough. Sometimes traditions begin in the most unlikely ways. If God is in it, it will not be a burden but a blessing. If it’s simply a doctrine of man that doesn’t mean it is evil, but we do need to distinguish the reason and the authority.”
Mr 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.