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Monday, May 14, 2012

Legalism

A close second to the assertion that one is being judgmental if one questions a person’s behavior, is its close cousin that one is being legalistic if it is suggested that Bible study, scripture memory, or some other spiritual discipline is a good idea if one wishes to know Christ.  I have heard that many times.
The need to exercise spiritual discipline is not legalism, it is relationship.
Not sure where that comes from, but I suspect that it flows naturally from our desire as fallen humans to live unfettered and self absorbed lives.  If I must engage with the Lord through reading, studying, and memorizing an old book, that can take a major bite out of my schedule.  That time that I could put to much better use, like sleeping, watching uplifting television shows, going to the movies (I know this because I struggle with all of these things… and others).

Problem is that is what the Lord has set up.  He gave us the Word, the Holy Spirit, and tells us multiple times how important it is that we are to spend time with Him in His Word.  To call that legalism is like calling living with your wife after you say, “I do,” legalism.  I mean you are married, you have told her you are committed to her for the rest of your life?  Why should you have to talk to her, or live with her again?  Can’t you just know her without that interaction?  You should not have to remember her birthday, your anniversary, her parent’s names, any of that stuff; you have committed, shoot, you don’t really ever have to think about her again.

Does not sound like much of a marriage, much less a relationship.

1 comment:

  1. Duke students and almost every 20 year old I've ever known can turn *anything* into competition,into a performance based game -- into legalism. They're all asking, "Do I have the right stuff? Can I accomplish the goal?" If the goal were intimacy with Christ, that would become competitive -- Am I doing it well enough? better than most? They'd figure out a way to measure it, make it a performance standard and shoot for the goal. Abiding in Christ -- twist it into something I must achieve/attain. So yep, some people CAN twist the wise requirement of reading, studying, and memorizing the Bible into legalism. Question I've been asking is, "Is there anyway to break them OUT of their mindset -- or is this something they just HAVE to go through?" Usually 40 year olds are returning to the Scripture Memory, Quiet Times, and Bible Reading of their youth -- because they've discovered GRACE -- and the Bible is the ONLY way to stay in touch with GRACE!

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