Legalism (Thoughts)

Growing up, I went to church every Sunday and on Wednesdays for confirmation or Lent.  I was involved in everything, it was all for God.  I was “church girl,” but I was proud.  I was trying to live a good life FOR my Lord.  It wasn’t until later when I realized just how exhausting that was becoming.

Legalism.  Rules, rules, rules.  Yes, the Old Testament is full of them.  There are even some in the New Testament, although I think Jesus’ two greatest commands kind of take care of the rest.  “37 Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’”(Matthew 22:37-39).  I wrote this post about rules before, but I felt another nudge to write this one.  Steve McVey says in Grace Walk, “…attending church, reading the Bible, praying, witnessing to others about Christ, etc…should be the result of intimacy with Christ, not a means for achieving intimacy” (82).  Christ desires intimacy with you.  He longs to fill you up and pour into you so much that you overflow and hunger to attend church, read the Bible, pray, witness to others about him, and so much more!  That’s right—“God’s concern with you isn’t about rules but relationship” (McVey, 80).  And where is there a law saying that you have to do all those things to get close to God?  Going to church should be about longing to worship and learning from a sermon and surrounding yourself in a community of other believers; reading the Bible should be about letting God speak to you through it or learning more about God; praying should be about speaking with God and expressing what’s on your heart, even though he already knows it (you have to tell him!); you should witness to others about Christ because you want them to experience the same overwhelming peace and love that comes with knowing the Savior on a personal level!  “The law says, ‘You must, you ought,’ while grace causes a person to say, ‘I want to!’” (McVey, 81).

“God can do anything he wants to have done.  He doesn’t want what you can do…instead, he wants you” (McVey, 77).  Do want him as badly?

Smiling in the Sunshine of His Grace, Anna =)^2

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