Obedience versus legalism

Dear friends,

if you’ve read my testimony or some of the posts where I talked about the issues which have been plaguing me for almost 7 years now, you may have wondered why I haven’t been able to defeat the enemy yet, even though I am saved and born again and supposed to have all the authority it takes to do so.

Well, if you have, I can tell you, this is THE topic I have prayed about and wondered and pondered about most in my life probably.

As you might be able to imagine, since it is my main problem.

Being harassed by demons day and night, ever day, every night, every week, every month, every year, 24/7 for almost 7 years now.

I have learned so much about these things.

And I got saved because of them.

I am grateful for GOD’s grace and mercy and that HE took me through and that HE showed me what the problem is and how to go about in solving it and what to learn and where to turn.

And yet, HE hasn’t granted me deliverance yet, at least not fully and permanently, only partly and glimpses of total, temporary freedom.

No need to mention that I still want it, need it and pray for it every day, every hour, especially at night when the demons and the witchcraft wake me up…

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining and I know in a way that I haven’t been fully delivered yet, because MY FATHER is taking me through a learning process.
Most of the time I am grateful and happy to go through all the stages it takes and will take and I am glad about all the wisdom, knowledge and understanding this brings.
Sometimes I get weary and frustrated and want it to be over or at least to go much faster, but I know at the same time, that NOBODY speeds up or changes the timing of ALMIGHTY GOD.

So what I do is I am doing my best to appreciate and cherish every revelation and every part of the way and make sure to share what have been crucial and not so obvious findings for me, so that some of you, dear friends, would find them and that they will make your path a little easier.

One of the most recent ones is one that I did not find obvious at all and I had to hear it many times and read about it and even though I did understand it, I still fell into the trap again and again and again and I believe it was a major Slower-downer for my progress – I am talking about legalism.

When I was a brand new, baby Christian, I wanted to learn about all the rules and laws and I believe this is what many of us experience and perhaps it is what we all need to go through to some degree.

So first of all, I needed to find out and to learn about GOD’s system and HIS opinions on things and I didn’t even fully know what a sin or sinning truly is or what it all entails, of course not, just like many others who are not saved and try to be “good people” by their own standards and by what they “think” GOD wants them to do and not to do – without taking any or any greater efforts to find out though.
So I realised that my knowledge about GOD’s will and HIS plan for us was very fragmented, diluted and forged. And I wanted to change and correct that, so I spent a lot of time to find out what GOD says.

So far, so good.

And not only did it take me a while to find the passage about law and grace at all, but even when I had, I didn’t fully understand it – until very recently, very, very recently, last week to be precise.

Let me tell you what happened last week:
still exploring all kinds of churches and not sure where to go and what to look for, it came to my mind that The Sabbath is holy, that GOD commands it and I was wondering why so few churches worship on a Saturday or why Christian churches don’t follow the holy days of the bible any more, even though we share the same Old Testament with the Jews (why many Christian churches chose to follow Pagan holidays instead is an entire different topic!) – so I wanted to find out more and I went to a Christian Church here in London where they follow the laws about the Sabbath and the Holy Days.
And I found out that there is much more from the Old Testament they do and follow.
They were not the 7th day Adventists, by the way, I didn’t want to go there since many sources seem to be agreeing that they are a cult, so I didn’t seriously consider them to become my new church home – and I will tell you one day what happened on SUNDAY, too  – exciting times 🙂

Back to my experience with this church.
Very nice people (like I already said, I have not been to a church where people were NOT extremely welcoming!!). There was a service and after the service, there was food, tea and conversations.
Like in many other churches I visited over the past few weeks.
And yet, it was different.
It felt a bit surreal – at least compared to many other churches I had been to.
Maybe also a bit more in their heads than other Christians I had seen.
At least from my outside take…
This congregation was not so much asking questions as they were telling their views and their own path of discovering “the truth”.
I found it relieving since I don’t like to tell my life story all the time, plus, I already know my own story and I go to these churches to find out about them, about what they believe and why and about what the people are like and if I can imagine them to become my friends or not, so it came handy for me, but I did notice that it was different to all other situations in a new church I had been in before.
And they were friendly, yet the atmosphere seemed a bit formal, not just because we were in a seminar room in a business centre, it was also like being at a business conference or convention and I felt as if they were trying to “sell” me something. Not in a very pushy way, but still…
And a lot of if made sense, too.

Except….

I was confused and my spirit was stirred up after this, I didn’t feel the peace and the satisfaction I sometimes feel after a good sermon and nice singing and a little fellowship –  the sermon was very good, I can even still remember it, but I felt lost and confused in my spirit and I was trying to find out what was wrong.

And I asked THE LORD about it and prayed about it and before I reveal my conclusions and findings, here is the passage I spoke about earlier and which I read often, but never truly understood until recently:

Galatians 5 : 1 – 18
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.
11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

 

Or let me say I did understand the difference between being under the law and under grace and that nobody can be successful with keeping all the law all the time and thus this method is a setup for failure for anyone who should try it.
And as sweet as these people are, I’m afraid that’s what they are doing… believing to do the exact right thing and doing it better than any other church, they became legalists….

I had failed to see that that’s a trap of the devil. When and as long as we are Pharisees, we’re not children of GOD and trying to get saved by works or by more works is a natural response to the accusations of the devil, when he is trying to sow doubts in us, when he is trying to make us feel guilty even though we are forgiven, when he points out where our prayers are not answered and tries to tell us we need to do more to please GOD and then HE will hear us… Only that we are sinning when we are driven and triggered like this.

But why? I had never understood before what to do if we want to be obedient to GOD’s will and not become legalists.
Like many Christians have… but luckily, I am not the one who will judge them and have to decide if they missed the mark or not, I wouldn’t want that job, it is the hardest job I can think of!

All I can do is do my best to understand everything and follow the best and most convincing and logical and HOLY SPIRIT in – dwelt and truest truth I myself could find!
And I have been looking for many years and very diligently!
Even still may I be the one who will miss the mark, but at least I can say to my defence that I did my best not to and did my best to find GOD and HIS TRUTH.

I have to admit, in the past, I did try to bribe HIM and get HIS attention with my works, with things I did and even if I told nobody else, I would hope that HE would see and acknowledge how good I am and HE would favour me. Part of what I, too, did, was to obey some things from the Old Testament and it only occurred to me that not what we do is what makes us either legalists or under grace, but the intention with which we do it or the attitude or the heart… I still fail to find many words to explain the difference, but I still hope that you will all get my point or perhaps you can even share your own understanding below in the comments and make it clearer to all of us.

The main point is that I now discovered that legalism can let you fall from grace literally. Like Paul said, so it may not such a big revelation to many of you and for some of you this might be obvious and you have known it forever, but I see so many Christians falling into this trap and I have been there for many years myself, so I felt the urge to write about it and for me, I can only now see that it can slow you down, can hinder you, can not get you the favour of OUR FATHER, because you are doing “it” from your own power, in self-righteousness, boasting (inwardly or even externally) of your goodness and that’s not what GOD wants us to do.

He will not let us get anywhere as long as we are legalists.
Most likely, someone who very profoundly understood the meaning of being under grace and sins 10 or 100 times more than a legalist, but also understands what it means to repent and be forgiven, will have a much closer relationship to OUR FATHER and will find so much more favour in HIS sight than a legalist.
Now THAT will get the legalist in you going and opposing and angry… see?
THIS is the exact part of you that you need to submit to GOD, to bring under the cross, to crucify.

Not that I am there yet.

But I finally understand the principle – the law behind it, so to say – just kidding!!!

And here is where the genius of GOD comes in:
Had HE not withheld HIS deliverance and would HE not still do it, I would most likely have stopped searching and asking and praying and learning – that’s how we are and I am no different from anyone, when the reward is there, I will stop running after it.

And I would have missed many lessons, including this one.

Legalism can actually HINDER you.
From progress, from deliverance and from salvation as well.
At least according to my current understanding- until THE HOLY SPIRIT will teach me something else, a better, more valid and truer truth.

Dear friends, have you been wandering in THE LORD in error in some area or regarding some aspects?
Will you share them with us, so that we can learn from your findings and also avoid the errors you made?
Please comment below, we would love to hear from you!

I hope and pray that this will inspire and bless you and that THE LORD will bless you richly in all areas of your life, that HE will keep you and shine HIS face upon you and bring you peace. In JESUS’ name I pray. Amen.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

 

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