Effort Is Not Legalism (Because Legalism Is Legalism)

“Your effort under God’s loving power will always give birth to humility, gratitude, joy, and service. Not perfectly, but passionately and increasingly. If you feel the devil attacking hard, it’s not legalistic to consider throwing away that laptop and limiting your travels.”
Lately I’ve felt the devil attacking me. It’s definitely been discouraging at times, feeling like my efforts to pursue Him have been in vain. But Jesus pours grace upon grace unto us and in the end all our efforts for Him are worth it.

J.S. Park: Hospital Chaplain, Skeptical Christian

It’s easy to poke fun at dudes who read their Bibles on a calendar, wake up at dawn to pray for three hours, and serve on the worship-rap-dance-drama-origami team. That dude attends church nine times per week, drops off food to the homeless from his jetpack, never gets near alcohol or even the rubbing kind, reads the Bible from the original Dead Sea scrolls, and lives in the last known Qumran community that serves lepers and fasts half the year. Someone yells “legalism.”

When we hear about guys doing whatever it takes to quit their sin addiction, like Twelve Step Plans and cognitive behavioral therapy and throwing away their laptops, we think that’s External Conformity. We call it “Religion.”

We throw around the word “Legalist” because just maybe, it relieves our anxiety about being lukewarm. Because maybe that really soothes our conscience about being passive on our own struggles.


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