Have you ever been called legalistic?
I was raised in a ‘traditional’ church, with a lot of emphasis on works/appearance. Then, a few years ago, my dad came across the book Grace Walk by Steve McVey and my whole family underwent a shift in theology. Not a drastic one, mind you. But for me, it was my first time hearing that God’s grace is enough.
Since then, I’ve tried to walk that fine line of relying on His grace without taking it for granted and doing whatever I want. And I tried to avoid the bonds of legalism.
My sister shared her definition of legalism with me the other day and I think it’s pretty spot on: “Legalism is being too afraid to let God’s grace do the work.”
Yep. It’s not having faith in God’s love and promise to hold onto us no matter what. It’s the pride that says we can get to Him on our own. It’s something I don’t engage in anymore. Or so I thought.
At church the other day, I heard a new definition for legalism. In the evening, when your friends and family ask you how your day was, does your answer depend on your performance?
If you got things done and made few to no mistakes, do you answer, “It was a great day!”?
Or, if you messed up at work or lost your temper too many times, do you say, “My day was miserable.”?
Because that’s what I do, and it’s legalistic.
So what should I do about it? My first inclination is to try harder to rejoice and be glad in the day that the Lord has made, despite circumstances. But here’s the rub: trying to rejoice turns even the act of worship into striving in the flesh.
So if there’s nothing I can do about it, how do I stop doing something about it?
Just by stopping. Just by enjoying God. By reveling in the fact that I’m His daughter and my value to Him is fixed and not dependant on what I do or don’t do.
If there’s nothing I can do to earn God’s love, then there’s nothing I can do to keep it, and (best part) nothing I can do to lose it.
So the best thing to do with it is enjoy it. Enjoy it and use it.
I heard something cool earlier: Convinced people convince people. Who’s going to want to come follow God when the people who should be exhibiting His love are the ones beating themselves up and striving to keep a bunch of rules they made up? I would take the nifty saying a step further and suggest that loved people love people.
It’s next to impossible to love on others when we’re too busy being down on ourselves. If we are too focused on earning love, little time is left for showing it. But if we are accepting the love that God is already offering us, then the peace and joy flood in and love is all we can show others, because we are obsessed with it, addicted to it. It goes viral.
By enjoying and walking in God’s grace, we more clearly exhibit His love and we show others that He is good.
Grace is catching. Let’s spread the news.