Legalism steals joy.
And it has potential to take away from something good.
I've learned that the hard way. Most of my life, I've been surrounded by "do good groups" that seem to think Legalism is Christianity. "The stricter, the better. The more faith you have." Legalism is a man made idea, enforced to create a "safe environment" for people who struggle. If they sin in a particular area, then everyone else must be accountable for their problems.
I've learned that legalism is often a substitute for true salvation. Following legalistic man made rules to a "T" must bring them closer to heaven. When in reality, it's simply Jesus that will do that. And nothing else.
Legalism said we couldn't hold hands on Wednesday nights at church. Thankfully, we didn't agree and promptly bowed out of activities.
Legalism screams I shouldn't visit the coffee shop to enjoy heart to heart conversations with my loved ones. Thankfully, we don't agree and still do. Last night was filled with meaningful conversation over iced goodness with a dear, dear friend of mine.
Legalism says I can't watch the movie, because, God forbid, it's romantic! Thankfully, God gave us the steamiest romance of all time. He created it. And it's beautiful. (Try reading Song of Solomon without blushing!)
Legalism said I shouldn't have dated Joshed. I shouldn't have spent time with him. Shouldn't have gotten emotionally involved. Thankfully, we didn't agree and today we are still very much in love. God is the creator of emotions, it's not wrong. It's a beautiful aspect of life.
I know, it's a strange topic. An odd declaration on a blog filled with more sentiment than anything else. But, lately, my joy has been zapped by the legalism creeping in every area of Christian movements. It saddens me. Because if it bothers me, I can only imagine what it looks like to non-believers.
But, today, I'm choosing joy through freedom in Christ. I am NOT bound by man made rules, ideas or manipulation tactics.
I'm choosing Jesus, because He gives me grace for each and every day.
I won't live by man made standards.
I will live by His, and His alone.