One thing that I’m so sick and tired of lately is the fight and drag of legalism that won’t die in my life. I grew up in a very conservative household, influenced and operating in legalistic and controlling theology and worldview. Basically, performance based and oppressive. Because I was raised this way and it’s all I’ve ever known, no matter how hard I try, it just seems to follow me around like a dark cloud. I think part of it too is my family still plays off of it, and like the domino effect, one by one were all fall right back into this abusive culture.
Legalism is so dark, for it compares and twists what you think will gain your standing before God. That somehow your works and your performance will make God love you more, and you will be more blessed than everyone else. This causes you to judge everyone around you, and you end up putting people down or making them feel lesser than, either to build yourself up or to justify your failings. There are many lies that are dressed up to seem like you are just “following the rules” or being a “good soldier,” as my therapist puts it. In the end, you feel just as much shame, dissatisfied, and exhausted. Legalistic people feel empty, they haven’t fully embraced God’s love and grace, and they are tired from trying. It’s a rat race to heaven, so push and shove, but make sure you’re evangelizing on the way!
If I could give hope and speak truth to those caught up in legalism, I would ask them to have (safe) friends and family pray over them to realize the truth of God’s word on faith & works. I would encourage them to read various scriptures on faith through grace (Ephesians 2:8,9; Hebrews 11), and remember Christ has set us free (Galatians 5) for freedom in itself. He was the only one who could undo sin’s consequences, and tear the veil that separated us from getting access to the Father. The only way to have grace for others, to drop the legalistic outlook and claim that freedom, is to embrace God’s grace and surrender any notion that you or I can accomplish an piece of holiness. That is all rubbish. That is exactly what Eve and Adam “ate” in the garden. They believed that if they ate of the apple, they could be god. We are co-sufferers with them since the beginning of time and until the 2nd coming. This is part of the sin nature that does not want to let go of this life! We must combat it with the truth of God’s Word. Jesus is THE only pathway and bridge to holiness and relationship with our Father. He is the priest and the sacrifice, the intercessor and the payment for all of our transgressions. If not for Jesus, we would have no hope. In Him, we have full assurance of hope that all of this broken and tainted life will be renewed one day. Hallelujah. Untli then, we must “Put the “God badge down,” as Jon Foreman says, “and love someone.”
How have you been effected by legalism?
If you’re interested in the song God Badge by Jon Foreman and Fiction Family, here is the album on Amazon http://amzn.to/2lLXVuC. When you purchase through my blog, you help support a work from home mom. Thank you!