How are you? Hope you had or are having a good day, today?
Last week, I shared my story that I learned to be flexible and adjust to praising the Lord and praying whenever mom sleeps or watches TV. In light of this, I would like to write about being set free from legalism.
Last year, I became aware that I had a religious spirit and I think I was set free, but sometimes I found I had a little bit of residue from many years of legalism. For example, as I used to devote my first hours to reading the Bible and praying, especially when working for company, I still practiced that. So, I used to read the Words, after I fixed breakfast for mom, not having breakfast for myself, but I used to have brunch after reading the Bible. But, recently, I slept in daily and I fixed breakfast for mom and I began to sit in front of her, just to enjoy light meal together. Then, I said to myself, “The Lord doesn’t condemn me nor rebuke me, for having a breakfast before reading the Bible.” I had some kind of peace and didn’t feel guilty nor condemned.
Then, I read Pastor John Fenn’s weekly thoughts on legalism in Church Without Walls Internal website that was posted many years back. It simply spoke to me and encouraged me. And I would like to share with you some out of them.
How NOT to be a Legalistic Believer #1 & #2
…and it certainly is, that means God the Father is beyond being manipulated. You can’t do something to make him un-like you and you can’t do something to make Him like you more. He is love – it’s just how He is!
That makes Him unpredictable in many ways, or appears so with our limited understanding. You don’t always know what He has in mind. You also can’t buy answered prayer, you can’t impress Him by doing x deed, you can’t offer Him anything that will corrupt Him to manipulate things to your liking over and above what someone else needs. He is God and He alone is sovereign.
Just getting out of bed and ready for your day is not a sin. Neither are necessary thoughts and conversations about your day a sin. Eating breakfast isn’t a sin. Being a human being isn’t a sin. Sin is an offense against God. You don’t offend Him by going about your routine. Legalism focuses on self and causes a person to be continually second guessing themselves, worrying they have offended God or done something wrong. If you sin He is fully capable of letting you know in your spirit that you missed it…
How to not be legalistic – know the Father
Some may recall this that I’ve shared before: While watching a rerun of a TV show I had seen many times before it occurred to me the Father knows everything, and therefore like me watching that rerun I knew so well, He must lead a boring life. So I asked Him, ‘Father, where do you find fulfillment?” Immediately He responded, “I enjoy the process.” The Father is a Spirit, but He created a physical world. By living in us by His Spirit He experiences the limitations of human life in the physical world, and He enjoys the process we call discipleship.
Legalism cuts off process. Legalism constrains an individual within a well-defined or understood framework that removes individual personality and gifts. A person cannot grow as a human being nor as a Christian if constrained by legalism. Legalism is not flexible. Legalism is all about performance, not relationship.
The Father enjoys the process.
What I do is when I first wake up, I greet the Father and ask Him if there is anyone He wants me to pray for
I’ll lay there from a few moments to 30 minutes or more, praying in the spirit as people come to mind, floating across my mind up from my spirit – not me thinking them up – but floating up from my spirit is the best way I know to describe it, like a quiet suggestion that has the presence of the Father attached to their name…and I pray for them until the next person’s name floats up…
I suggest if you don’t know the Father, you start talking to Him, including Him in your life first as your Creator. Demonstrate a core thankfulness for nature, for Him thinking you up, for Him causing you to be born at this time in history, for the natural world around you whenever you notice beauty, order, and design. Just say, ‘Beautiful sunrise Father’ and things like ‘Wow, look at the tree Father, amazing design to make a leaf dying for the season turn so colorful” and when you do things like that, revelation starts to flow.
Start there…just talk to the Father, He loves the process. He is already planning the ages to come. Be relationship based in your faith, not structure based.
I’ve been feeling that the Lord allowed this season of the pandemic, for the Body of Christ to reset. I think many Christians once had or even still have the religious spirit or legalism. But, through this pandemic, I think some of us started to be focused on relationship with the Father and the brothers and sisters at home rather than go to the buildings and do some religious rituals. For me, I do think the Lord has given me the season of declutter and He wants me to be set free from the religious spirit or legalism, to move further and come closer to Him.
Friend, I reread Brother Lawrence’ Practicing the Presence of God in this January, as I felt that’s what the Lord wants me to focus on, the fellowship with Him. And just like Pastor John shared his own experience, I also tried to talk to Him more often, saying, “Father, I love the clouds and the blue sky today. Thank You so much!” I will share more on the friendship with God later. In the meantime, I pray that you and I are set free completely from legalism, if any, and our focus is on loving our Father and fellowshipping with Him.
Have a bliss!
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:18~19)