Relationship vs. Legalism

Summary: God desires to be in relationship with us and not legalistic practices. In fact, as we submit to God’s will an interesting thing happens, God wants to know our heart on issues of the world!

There are many Christians living under living under the slavery of legalism. How does this look? A person’s prayer life can be a good indicator. If a person says the same prayer to God day and after day, it doesn’t sound like much of a relationship to me.

If a friend came to you and said the same thing time after time, at some point wouldn’t you already know what your friend is going to say to you before he speaks?

Now I use to be bound by this legalistic prayer routine. I could only imagine God saying, “Marc, I have heard that prayer, lets talk about something different.”

Editor’s note: If saying the same prayer to God enhances the relationship, go for it. Remember we each have our own personal relationship with Jesus. Allow Holy Spirit to lead you what works for you.

There is another area of life, where many Christians are bound by legalism. How many times have you heard a Christian say, “Not my will be done, but Your will be done God”.

Again, this in itself is not a bad prayer. But imagine two friends, where one friend always has his way and the other always had to submit to the other.

Wouldn’t you feel like a slave and not a friend?

God has called us friends of God, not slaves.

The key is that as we fully submit to God’s desires, He wants to know what is on our hearts. It’s about a relationship.

This is emphasized in the Bible with Jacob. Genesis 32:28 says, He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.”

Notice that God did not belittle Jacob for wrestling with Him, he actually enjoyed the wrestling! Why? Because it was rooted in a relationship.

In my own life, I have wrestled with God. I have a Bible, that has no cover and back, tattered pages, and a few burnt ones in my own wrestling with God if all that the Bible says is true. And I love it! It shows my authentic relationship and with God!

Interesting note, the few burnt pages are in Genesis where it talks about Jacob!

God is longing for His people to be in a real relationship with Him and bound by legalism!


Prayer: Father, I pray that Your Holy Spirit leads us all into what it means to be in a real relationship with You! I am grateful for all you are doing in every reader’s life and pray for a spirit of revelation of what it means to be in relationship with you! I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.

Application and Comments: As you fully submit to God’s desires first, what is one thing on your heart that you would like to see change? God is interested! Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” So come boldly to the throne of grace!

Making Progress, Not Perfectionism

Summary: It can be tempting to wait until everything is perfect before beginning something new. However, this often is not the case in life. So instead of reaching for perfectionism, reach for progress.

Last month, I felt God challenging me to upgrade the blogging experience I have been doing. Truthfully, I did not have an idea of where to begin. There was a short season where I kept waiting until everything “lined up”, before I would move forward.

I am glad that was a short season because I could have been waiting a long time!

Fortunately, I ran across something called the 30 Day Blog Challenge that has helped to make me recognize the importance of progress and not perfectionism.

Philippians 3:12-14 puts it this way:

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I thought I had to have the “perfect” graphics, posts, following, etc to move forward with this venture. By me just taking a step forward each day, I feel momentum building day by day.

How relieving!

When I lie down at the end of the night, if I hear the thought progress come in it has been an great day!

Challenge: Is there something in your life that you are waiting for the stars to align before you make a step? Let me encourage you to take the first step today and trust the Holy Spirit will guide you to where He is leading. I am sure it is exciting!

Prayer: Father, I thank you that you don’t want perfectionism, but are so pleased when we take steps of faith. And Holy Spirit, I pray that you instruct us and teach us in the way we shall go and to counsel us with your loving eye upon us. In Jesus name. Amen.

Comments: What is something God is calling you to take a step in today. I would love to hear about it in the comments below..

P.S. I purposely left two periods on that last sentence to break perfectionism 😉