This past weekend I was at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference in Dallas, Texas. I had such a blast getting to know the awesome men and women there. Being around others who share my heart’s interest refreshed and recharged me. I truly encourage you to find some time this week to fellowship with someone (outside of your family) who gets you. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
At a general assembly, the group was asked by Bill Myer (an amazing man of God, you should check out the crazy, awesome things he’s done) what are the things you have to do when you’re a Christian. Here’s the answers that were given:
- Go to church
- Read the Bible
- Be good
- Get drunk
- Do drugs
- Have sex
How much fun does that sound? What’s in it for you? Try to sell this idea to yourself, let alone others. It’s next to impossible. Why would you want to devote your life to a list of rules?
But here’s another list:
Now who wouldn’t want more of these? I know I do! But the thing is, we can’t get them on our own. These are the Fruit of the Spirit–the Holy Spirit–and only He can provide these. We just have to give Him more room in our hearts to grow and expand.
I was raised in a wonderful Christian home. And from ages one to seventeen I simply accepted my parents’ beliefs (or what I thought were my parents beliefs) as my own. But I stuck so far into legalism that my faith was dry, my tree did not bear fruit. I struggled with mild depression because I could not find the fruits I so desperately needed in my list of do’s and don’ts.
I had to break free of my parents’ beliefs and find my own. I searched the Bible and I found that some of my assumptions were false, but more importantly I found a deeper relationship with God. One not based on the things going on around me or the things I did, but instead on His love that covers all. There is nothing I can do to gain or lose His love. It’s already there and it always will be.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19
Just realizing that–and I know, sometimes, I need to realize that every day–opens up our hearts to be filled by Him and His fruit.
I encourage you today, if you are stuck in legalism, if you are drowning in the do’s and don’ts, to reset your focus. Pursue Christ not Christianity. Your life will be fuller and bright and just more than you can imagine. There is truly a difference in the days that I dedicate to Him. He is doing some amazing things in my life right now.
Do you struggle with legalism? Have you found a way to combat it? Please share! How has God been working in your life recently? If you would like me to pray for you, please leave me a note or send me an email. You guys are always in my heart and my prayers.