One of the things that happens when you do not walk with God is that you become stupid and blind. Stupid, because you find yourself without discernment, thinking up clever schemes and thinking that they will work when historically they do not. Such people do not have a replication problem: they always fail.
Blind because you cannot and will not ask or consider that which is before you: the obvious questions are self censored.
The problem is that walking with God means you have to walk in his light, and that makes you transparent. You can't hide your faults and flaws. You can't lie to yourself or lie to others. God is truth, God is wisdom and God is holy. Compared with him, we are none of these things, and the teachings of men are akin to a anthill calling itself Mt Everest.
13 And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honour me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
14 therefore, behold, I will again
do wonderful things with this people,
with wonder upon wonder;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”
15 Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel,
whose deeds are in the dark,
and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
16 You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay,
that the thing made should say of its maker,
“He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
“He has no understanding”?
7 Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, 2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands, holding to the tradition of the elders, 4 and when they come from the market-place, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) 5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
“‘This people honours me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
There is much that is in the habits of those who have gone before us we can learn from: ours is not the first generation that has walked with God. But when the tradition turns against clear scripture, then you have to see a reformation, a return to the roots. Historically, there has been a tension between the radicals and those who want the externalities done and nothing else.
But external religion does not save. It is the schoolmaster that brings you to Christ, not Christ.
I said yesterday, the church is not perfect. It does not have to be. For the church is there to lead us to Christ, and Christ only needs one or two called in his name and he will be with them.
Do not listen to those who talk ritual and spirituality and neglect God. Listen instead to Christ, and those who walked with him.