Apologetics · Christian Responsibilities

THE PHARISEES, JESUS, AND LEGALISM

What does the following Bible verse mean to you?:

Matthew 11:30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

This comes to me whenever I have a conversation with others who are subconsciously casting their own convictions on to others.  What I mean by that is I, oftentimes, will see  other Christians who wish to thump their way into the hearts of other believers based on their OWN convictions by zealously preaching legalism.

Example:  a man is heavily bound into heavy metal music as a youngster.  He becomes born again, and starts a ministry about the evil within heavy metal music – or just secular music in general.  The Lord greatly convicted him in his “idolatry” of wanting to be in a rock band, or worshiping a certain band, therefore, he feels that he must share his convictions with others on this topic.  And that’s not wrong, UNLESS you get tunnel vision with it.

The problem, sometimes, can be that we become so focused on that one area of conviction – we cannot see outside of it and then feel anyone who disagrees with us, even using scripture, is just flat out wrong.

It becomes legalism for us.  We feel since we must stay away from secular music or whatever the conviction, because the Lord has so greatly afflicted us on this matter, then so must everyone else because if it affected us that way – SURELY it must affect EVERYONE that way.  WRONG.

A great example regarding this matter is how 2 men, who both can look at pornography, and one gets addicted, the other can live without it.  Or how one woman may be extremely materialistic, while another could care less about what she owns/has.  One person may get heavily involved in witchcraft, while another can look away from it and never take another glance.  One person may be a sex addict while another may be an alcoholic.

You see, all things affect each of us differently.  And our greatest sins before our new life in Christ become part of our “ministry” because they once held us back, but the Lord broke the chains of it from us.  We can’t help but have zeal for that cleansing right?

I’m not saying anyone is wrong in sharing a personal ministry –  not by any means.  But that we should all be very careful on how rigid our stance is on that subject with other believers (and non-believers).  We all need to be careful in understanding that our walk with the Lord is never exactly like another person’s walk with the Lord.  We are all just as different as the gorgeous snowflakes He creates – each one of us.

Jesus HATED legalism.  He hated the laws the Pharisees put forward so much that He purposely went against them and their laws by healing someone on the Sabbath – which was supposed to be a day of rest.  (Matthew 12)  He didn’t go against God – just the rigid legalism of the Pharisees.  They didn’t understand the words in their holy books that God gave them and twisted them to their own laws and restrictions.  They wanted to entrap Him.

LEGALISM SCARES AWAY POTENTIAL/NEW BELIEVERS; Jesus doesn’t like that either.

I’ve seen Christians running around screaming “MURDER!” regarding abortion – not even considering how that would make a woman who has had one feel.  I don’t know about you, but if I was timidly seeking the Lord and have had an abortion and wish to be cleansed of that and wish to get to know the Lord – someone running at you with their bible screaming “MURDER!” is enough to scare you right out of seeking Christ.  Amen?  The church in general needs to tone that piety down…seriously.

Without knowing the full character of Christ through scripture and the Holy Spirit’s revelations to us – our zeal can become VERY destructive.  We’ve all been there to one degree or another, I’m sure.

God convicts us each individually, on those things He finds offensive.  We all have a different walk with Him.  He convicts us and continues to refine us during our entire walk with Him.  I have a saying:

He convicts WHOM He will,

WHEN He will,

and HOW He wills.

When we cast our convictions on others and start sounding legalistic, it places us in a position of piety.  We are not to place ourselves above others.  Hard to do these days in such a narcissistic society, but washing each others feet is the mentality we should all have.  SERVING others.  Amen?  NONE of us are any better than others and the Lord can be swift to remind us of that…and it can sometimes be a painful reminder.

I’m not saying we need to be perfect Christians.  It’s virtually impossible anyway.  No one can ever be – no matter how hard we try.  And I’m certainly not saying to go out and purposely sin, because that can get you into trouble.  What I am saying is we need to take the stance of humbling ourselves amongst the brethren, HEARING each other, being patient, kind, and listening with an open mind as we may have missed something in scripture that another could shed light on.

We are ALL part of the Body….one part does not work without the others.  Amen?

I tell you this because I don’t believe we should become like Judas, in all his piety, who scolded Mary for anointing Jesus’ feet with expensive oils before His imprisonment.  Judas placed himself high on a throne as he looked down at Mary and reprimanded her for using the oils.  He JUDGED her and her decision to serve the Lord in the way she felt she should at that moment.

That’s what legalistic Christians remind me of – Judas, harping about the expense of the oils, when all Mary was doing was serving Jesus in love and humility.

She was an EXCELLENT example of how we should all be with each other.  Scripture is pretty clear on that.

If that doesn’t humble you enough, remember Christ Himself getting down on the ground and washing John’s feet.  Now THAT is a type of humility to ponder.  For real.  Our king, our Savior, God, in the flesh, washing a lowly disciples feet.  WOW.

And lets not forget – Legalism says “works over faith”.  Legalism places a person practicing it to attempt to rise above God’s power and glory in our lives.  It says “God, I’m better than you because I can do this.”  We can’t.  But He can.  Faith before works.  ❤

With that said – if you find you might be one of these Christians who takes their convictions a bit too seriously and feel that weight of the yoke on your neck…loosen your hair a bit…rest awhile.  Let the Lord speak to you through prayer on how to reach others with whatever Message that He wants you to reach them with.

In Jesus’ Name….

Peace to you all, today and every day.

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