Today’s lesson on our freedom in Christ was an especially freeing one for me. The irony found in the fact that the Judaizers, who were attempting to lead the Gentile believers into spiritual slavery through adherence to their Law/circumcision (and not something blatantly evil), awakened me to the fact that we can become enslaved to “good” things just as easily as we can to those things which are not.
In fact, I think it’s often the “good” things that trip up Christ followers the most. Below are some of the responses received from the group:
- feeling that we must be in church every time the doors are open.
- feeling that we must serve in every area we’re asked to serve in.
- our quiet time has to be at a certain time, day or place in order to be “effective”.
- we must wear “our best” to church to please the Lord.
Being in church and serving is not only good, it’s biblical. But being in church and serving with the right motives is best. God’s best. It’s the difference in being burdened/weighed down and being joyful (although not necessarily happy at all times!) For instance, what if, as you’re getting ready to leave for church next Sunday, you receive a call from a friend in crisis who needs you now? Do you tell them it will have to wait until after church (because going to church is what you’re “supposed” to do) or do you sense the Holy Spirit prompting you to be the church in this case?
Purposefully setting aside time to hear the Lord without all the distractions of life is not only wise, it’s following Jesus’ example. It’s the best! But feeling burdened or guilty if you choose a different time of the day or use a different version of the Bible for your time with the Lord than others is nothing but legalism.
And feeling that you must wear your best to impress the Lord? What’s going on inwardly has always superseded that which is going on outwardly in the life of a believer, as far as Jesus is concerned. Do you enjoy dressing up? That’s great! Do it! But it’s not necessary.
Basically, by allowing ANYTHING in addition to our faith in Christ to bring salvation or a “better standing” with the Lord, we are allowing legalism to creep in to our lives and Paul makes it very clear this is not God’s desire (the best) for His children.
Now, that is the best.