Have religious traditions robbed you of living a victorious life? Find out if you’ve been believing truth or tradition.
READING TIME: 9 MINUTES
“Grandma taught it, and we bought it.” That’s a saying Kenneth Copeland has shared many times when teaching the Word of God. When it comes to many firmly held beliefs in the Church today, you could also say, “The Church taught it, and we bought it.”
Somewhere along the way, people have leaned too heavily on the Church to do the spiritual legwork for them when it comes to understanding and applying God’s Word to their lives.
Misinterpretations have led to traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation, ultimately robbing people of the truth in God’s Word.
Jesus warned us about the dangers of traditions more than once.
In Mark 7:13 (GW), He said, “Because of your traditions you have destroyed the authority of God’s word.” The New Living Translation says, “You cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition.” That’s dangerous business!
When Jesus said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees” (Luke 12:1), He was referring to their hypocrisy that came from a loyalty to their traditions over and above God.
We need to beware of traditions, too. People don’t even realize they’re living by traditions—they just call them Christianity. The danger is that these traditions have replaced the Word of God. They keep people bound where they should be set free.
Kenneth Copeland sums it up this way: “Tradition always explains why God can’t.”
Have you been living by truth or tradition? Here are five common biblical misconceptions debunked.
1. Truth or Tradition: You Should Always Pray ‘If It Be Thy Will’
“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup from Me.” –Luke 22:42 (NKJV)
“Sometimes God says yes, sometimes He says no, and sometimes He says wait awhile.” In other words, we just can’t know what God is going to do from one situation to the next, so it’s a good idea to tack on “if it be Thy will” to every prayer, just in case.
Truth or tradition?
Many churches teach that we should pray this way because Jesus did, but He only prayed this way once: in Luke 22:42. In most instances, He prayed with boldness and certainty of receiving an answer.
For example, when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He didn’t pray, “Lord, if it be Thy will, bring Lazarus up.” No. He said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me” (John 11:41).
Sadly, this prayer tradition has caused Christians to come to the throne with great uncertainty, rather than with the boldness we’re instructed to have (Hebrews 4:16).
Is it really a big deal to pray this way? Yes. Make no mistake: It is.
When you pray a wobbly prayer like this, you’re becoming the double-minded man who James 1:6-9 says will receive nothing from God. You don’t have to ask if it’s God’s will for you to get a divorce, tell a lie or tithe. It’s already been stated. And you don’t have to ask if it’s His will to heal you.
On this subject, Gloria Copeland says, “‘If it be Thy will, heal me’ will help you die. Many Christians have died before their time praying ‘if it be Thy will.’”
Is this prayer ever appropriate? Of course. You pray this prayer when you don’t have a clear answer regarding your situation and are seeking God’s counsel. But you certainly don’t pray “if it be Thy will” when He’s already told you it is.
It’s time to break this tradition and go boldly to the throne of grace knowing when something is God’s will, and praising and thanking Him for the answer.
2. Truth or Tradition: Christians Shouldn’t Be Wealthy
“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” –Matthew 19:24 (NIV)
Recently, a reporter from a tabloid television show cornered Kenneth Copeland and questioned his belief in Christians living with abundance and wealth. To fuel the conversation, she quoted the single Bible verse referenced above about money (there are over 2,000) as her argument.
This reporter’s claim echoes the voices of those living by tradition in churches around the world: Christians shouldn’t be wealthy—they should live with just barely enough.
Truth or tradition?
It’s pretty common. Pulling one verse from the Bible, misinterpreting it, then using it to judge others. But let’s set the record straight—it’s not OK. That’s the trouble with tradition—it leads to unfounded and mean-spirited judgment. It divides us where we should be united, and it keeps God’s people bound where they should be victorious.
So let’s talk money and what the Bible really says. Here are only a few of the many verses that prove God wants His people blessed financially.
• The Lord is the One who gives you the power to get wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18).
• God takes pleasure in your prosperity (Psalm 35:27).
• God’s blessing will make you rich (Proverbs 10:22).
• When you honor the Lord with money, abundance will come back to you (Malachi 3:10; Proverbs 3:9-10).
• God provides all your needs generously, so you will have money left over to be a blessing to others (2 Corinthians 9:8).
But make no mistake, there are warnings about money, too. The verse we talked about earlier, Matthew 19:24 (NIV), says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
When the disciples were shocked by what he said and asked who could possibly get into heaven, Jesus replied, “With God all things are possible” (verse 26, NIV).
Like in so many other areas, it’s impossible to handle money correctly without God’s help. He never said He didn’t want people to have money. He was saying that it’s going to be tough to stay away from trusting and loving money—it’s a danger to you—but you can do it if you stick close to the Father.
That’s why Jesus told the rich man to give away everything he had and follow Him (Matthew 19:21)—not because he had too much—but because he loved and trusted in money. That’s the area where he was lacking—he hadn’t put the kingdom of God first.
So, when tradition says a Christian shouldn’t be rich, it’s essential to ask how one would define the word rich. We all have our own definitions, but most would agree having more than enough is rich. But who decides what is more than enough?
Watch Gloria Copeland and Pastor George Pearsons teach you why God’s will is prosperity.
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Some people gasp at the idea of a Christian living in a 6,000 square foot mansion, but what size, then, is acceptable? 3,000 square feet? 1,000 square feet? Maybe it shouldn’t be a home at all when a trailer or a shack will do, right?
See, it’s a slippery slope when we put ourselves in the seat of judge and jury when it comes to wealth. The underlying spirit behind those who say, “You should be giving that to the poor” is a Judas spirit—greedy, envious and wicked.
You should desire wealth, not only to live in abundance, but to give, give and give some more to promote the gospel and further the Kingdom. The more you get, the more you should be giving. That’s Bible principle.
3. Truth or Tradition: God Sometimes Puts Sickness on People
“I am the Lord who heals you.” –Exodus 15:26 (ESV)
With a lot of help from the devil, people came up with the idea that, as Christians, we can glorify God by suffering physical illness or infirmity without complaining, or that God puts sickness on people to teach them something. If that’s the truth, then why are Christians running to the doctor to get treatment and medicine to cure what they think God put on them?
Only the devil gets glory when our bodies are incapacitated. God receives glory when we have the physical strength and health to be of service to His kingdom and a blessing to others.
You can read the New Testament from front to back, and you won’t find any record of God getting praise because someone on a sickbed said they were suffering for Jesus. No, He received praise when someone had a testimony to share with the world (Matthew 15:30-31).
Clearly, it’s healing, not sickness, that glorifies God!
As for teaching us something, He sent His Word to instruct us—not sickness, disease and suffering. To say God makes people sick to teach them something is the equivalent of saying a good parent would push their kid off a bike to teach him something or intentionally allow him to catch an illness for his own good—that’s outrageous!
Sickness is a curse. If you check the master list of blessings and curses in Deuteronomy 28, you’ll find the following listed under curses: sickness, poverty, grief and every kind of trouble. Those are not blessings—they are curses! Yet some people are living by a tradition that those things are somehow God’s blessings.
Sickness and disease are the work of the devil alone. Healing, health and wholeness is God’s will for His people.
4. Truth or Tradition: Healing Is Not for Everyone
“He healed all the sick among them…” –Matthew 12:15
You may have noticed there isn’t a scripture under this heading. That’s because there isn’t even a verse to twist. It simply isn’t there. In this case, tradition has simply disregarded the long list of scriptures that confirm healing is God’s will for every single believer in Christ Jesus.
Even more, there is not one instance of Jesus refusing to heal someone in the Bible. Matthew 15:30 says, “He healed them all.” God is no respecter of persons. He doesn’t pick and choose who He feels like healing from one day to the next.
Why are some people not healed? Faith opens the door to healing. Sin keeps it closed. There is a process to receiving, but make no mistake, God wants every single one of His people to be well.
Though this tradition has been debunked time and again, there are still those who refuse to believe it. In fact, many get downright angry about it. It can be painful to discover that you haven’t been operating in an area that is within the authority we’ve been given, but it’s far better to make the switch than cling to a destructive tradition!
Watch Kenneth Copeland teach you why it is always God’s will to heal.
It’s never God’s will for you to be sick. He wants every believer healed every time.
5. Truth or Tradition: God Is In Control of Everything
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”—James 4:7 (KJV)
Years ago, there was some legislation passing through the California State Legislature that would mandate the teaching of homosexuality in public classrooms beginning in kindergarten. (This was well before this was a common issue.) A Christian couple who worked there shared the concern with their Bible study and encouraged the group to pray over the matter and vote in the upcoming election.
Instead, the group seemed complacent. Rather than taking a stand, praying and resisting the work of the devil, the members dismissed the concern saying, “God would never let that happen.” Well, it did happen and, as you know, much worse is happening today.
If God is in control of everything, He would be to blame for every bad thing. Of this idea, Andrew Wommack says, “To believe that God allows or approves of Satan’s actions defies the logic of James 4:7. It eliminates our responsibility to resist and places ultimate responsibility for everything back on God.”
The tradition that God is in control of everything is a deception, and it is keeping the Church from taking its rightful place of authority and keeping the devil under its feet. Some will even say that God has given the devil permission to wreak havoc on your life. When people believe God allowed them to be sick or live in poverty, they won’t resist it.
It’s time to kill this sacred cow before it destroys the power of God in people’s lives any further.
Yes, God is sovereign. But when He made man, He gave him the power and authority over the earth, and man turned it over to Satan, who has been messing it up with our help ever since. God is a good God. Everything that comes your way is not in the will of God.
Of this tradition, Andrew Wommack also has this to say, “The slickest deception Satan has ever put across, primarily through the Church, is to get people to embrace his work as the work of God.”
There you have it—5 common biblical misconceptions debunked! Though we’ve proved these are merely traditions, the debate will likely rage on. But you have a choice. If you’ll cast out the traditions of men and latch on to the Word of God, you’ll walk in divine health, abundance and peace all the days of your life. Whenever you hear a tradition or old idea, always ask yourself, “Where is it written?” and consider all the verses together when seeking the Lord for the answer.
Watch Kenneth Copeland teach you why the curse was never God’s will for you.
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