H ello. My name is Duke and I am a former legalist.
I use the opening line that is used in most 12 step programs for a reason. Legalism can be just as destructive to your life and the lives of those around you as alcoholism, drug addition, porn addiction ect. In fact, the root of legalism is what empowers many of these destructive lifestyles and I was a legalist.
Many Christians like myself at one time know their Bible, attend church, even serve in ministry like I did yet they struggle to know or understand the core of the gospel message. They can quote the promises of God and even act like they are standing in faith yet when it comes to having faith in God’s love and grace for them personally, they fall far short and operate with a heart attitude that feels that His love must be earned and that their efforts still fall short. Because of this they feel inadequate, unworthy, and separated from Him instead.
Even though they say they know and can quote that Jesus died on the cross for their sins so that they are not judged according to their works, they operate from a performance mentality. They are living under the spirit of the law rather than in faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. They are still slaves to performance based religion.
The Apostle Paul warned the Galatian Christians of this when he wrote this.
For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.
So how do you know if you have fallen into this trap of performance based religion? Here are 7 symptoms that people show when they are operating with a legalistic heart attitude rather than placing their faith in Christ’s work alone.
They want to follow step one, step two, and step three and then bang, they are done and God is on the hook to move on their behalf.
Unfortunately prayer doesn’t work that way.
Prayer is communication with God and as such, it doesn’t have a formula.
So this is not a list of things to do per se, but instead is a list of strategies that if you will apply those strategies, it will transform your life and you will see God move in ways you haven’t seen before.
Later in my Christian life, I encountered where Pentecostals would have an experience that they called dancing in the Spirit. Basically they would let out a shout, and start to do what can only be described as a frenzied jig.
Dancing has been stigmatized in the church as something that is worldly or carnal or it has been hyper spiritualized to the point that it is only allowed if you are somehow taken over by the Spirit of God and it is not you that is really dancing. I think both of these mentalities in the church are neither healthy nor biblical. I believe that there are real benefits of allowing yourself to dance before the Lord.