“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” (Colossians 2:8).

I hate to admit it, but the first years I homeschooled, I tried to make our homeschooling a carbon copy of what I experienced in a traditional school. Following the same regimented routine I remembered, I attempted to convert our home and teach my children with standards and techniques meant for a classroom of 25 children. Thankfully, God helped me to discover a more robust way to teach our school lessons, and my children became happier in their studies.

Following the traditions he had learned, the apostle Paul also had to change his thinking toward the new believers of the early church. As a devout Hebrew and learned scholar of the law, he saw Christians as a threat to the foundations of his faith. Believing he was preserving the true worship of God, Paul zealously pursued these new believers to eradicate them. Hundreds of men, women, and children died as a result of his actions, until he saw the light and encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. Years later, Paul confessed his mistake in 1 Timothy 1:12-13 when he said, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”

What about you? Is your faith in Jesus Christ based simply on following the empty traditions you learned as a child, or do you truly know the One who uniquely created you? Jesus loves you and wants to have an intimate and dynamic relationship with you, so you can experience not only the forgiveness of your sins, but also the abundant life He has promised (John 10:10). Ask the Holy Spirit to touch your heart today and let Him show you a whole new way to love the Lord!

Father, forgive me for coming to You with empty acts of worship. Take my life and use me for Your glory. Teach me from Your Word and guide me with the Holy Spirit, so I can serve You with a heart that is passionate and alive. In Jesus’ name, Amen.