Obedience vs. Legalism

scalesObedience

  • The quality or condition of being obedient.
  • The act or practice of obeying; dutiful or submissive compliance: Military service demands obedience from its members.
  • The trait of being willing to obey 
  • Conformity to a monastic rule or the authority of a religious superior, esp. on the part of one who has vowed such conformance.
  • Behavior intended to please your parents; "their children were never very strong on obedience"; "he went to law school out of respect for his father's wishes" 

Synonyms – submission, subservience, deference.

 

Legalism

  • Strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, esp. to the letter rather than the spirit.
  • The doctrine that salvation is gained through good works. 
  • The judging of conduct in terms of adherence to precise laws.

(All definitions taken from www.dictionary.com)

What does the Bible say?

Legalism is an often thrown about term by Christians today.  The slightest insistence that we must conform our lives to Christ in obedience and tempers flare.  But, what do the scriptures say?  Can we really say we have been saved, if our actions do not reflect our salvation?

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  James 1:22

If you love Me, keep My commandments.  John 14:5

Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”  Acts 5:29

Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:  He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock.  And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.  But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell.  And the ruin of that house was great.  Luke 6:47-49

He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.  Luke 16:10

We have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect.  Shall we not much more readily be in subject to the Father of spirits and live?  For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.  Hebrews 12:9, 10

The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.  1 John 2:17

Walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness.  Ephesians 4:11

Legalism comes about when we do things for our glory, rather than out of love for our Heavenly Father.  As a child, we loved our parents, who disciplined us on occasion, aimed us in the direction to go and loved us.  Because we loved them, we tried to please our parents by doing as they asked of us.  It is the same in our relationship with God.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15

Remember…

It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.  Galatians 2:20

 

31-Days of Prayer For Your Husband

pray for husbandWhat better thing can a wife do for her husband than to pray scripture for him each day of the month! 

1st: That he might become a holy man, a man of prayer, mature in the Lord, growing in his knowledge of the Lord. I Thes 5:23, Col 4:12, Eph 1:18-19, 3:16-19, 6:18.

2nd: That he might grow into a man of integrity, who works righteousness, speaks truth in his heart, does not slander, does no evil, does not take up reproach against friends, honors those who fear the Lord, swears to his own hurt, is unchanging in these things, does not charge interest on loans, and does not take bribes.

3rd: That he might be a man of contentment as seen in Prov 15:16, Phil 4:11, I Tim 6:6-8, and Heb 13:5.

4th: That he might learn to take every thought captive, to not be conformed to the worlds thinking, and to think scripturally. Rom 12:2, II Cor 10:5.

5th: That he might daily seek God with all his heart, walking in the Spirit moment by moment, growing in his dependence on Him. Psalm 119:1-2, Prov 3:5-6.

6th: That he would ever be captivated by my love. Prov 5:18-19.

7th: That he would be a man of courage. Deut 31:6, II Chron 19:11.

8th: That the Lord might give him wisdom to lead his family physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Eph 1:17-19

9th: May he always look at the plank in his own eye before seeing others' sawdust. Matt 7:3

10th: That he might become a called man, not driven, with well thought through and prayed through goals in life. I Cor 9:24-27

11th: That he might be a man of prayer, guarding his heart and mind, puting into practice what he has heard, seen and learned. Phil 4:4-9

12th: That he might stand firm against the schemes of the devil and resist Satan in all circumstances. Eph 6:10-18, James 4:7

13th: That he might grow in spiritual maturity by putting away childish things, cultivating, understanding, striving after the Christ ideal, partaking of the deeper truths of the gospel and overcoming temptation. I Cor 13:11, 14:20, Eph 4:13, Heb 5:14, I John 2:14

14th: That he might make me holy, cleansing me by the washing with water through the Word. Eph 5:26

15th: That he would learn to not depend on his circumstance for happiness but on God alone. Heb 3:17-19

16th: That he would be a man who enters into spiritual warfare. Eph 6:11-12, I Thes 5:8

17th: That he might have new strength in the midst of his busy schedule, and that the Lord might infuse him with His strength. IS 40:31, Eph 3:14-19

18th: That he might have a burden to see lost people come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Matt 28:12-20

19th: That he would be kept from strange women and evil men, and that his friends would be men and women who walk with God. Prov 13:20

20th: That his self image might be a reflection of the Lord's thoughts toward him. Eph 1:17-19, Rom 12:3, Psalm 139

21st: That he might be a man responsible for family spiritual growth. Prov 4:1-14

22nd: That he might not be deceived into unbelief, sin or bitterness. Matt13:8-10

23rd: That he might learn to love as God has commanded. I Cor 13:4-7, Rom 12:8-10, Eph 5:25

24th: That the fruit of the Spirit might be exhibited more and more in his life. Gal 5:22-23, John 15:8

25th: That he might grow in humility and in being a shepherd. I Pet 5:2-6

26th: That he might grow daily in character. II Pet 1:5-8

27th: That he might keep a clear conscience. I Pet 3:16-18

28th: That the Lord might protect him, guarding his course. Prov 2:8

29th: That he might learn to manage his time well. Eph 5:15

30th: That the Lord would put a song in his heart. Psalm 33:3, 40:3, Job 35:10

31st: That he may have a holy fear of God. Psalm 34:11, 111:10, Prov 9:10

This list provided by Pillar of Truth Ministries.

 

Perfectionism – The Rule of Getting It Right Every Time

perfect-cala-lilyThis article was written originally in September of 2009.  Its amazing that writing such an article has led me to where I am today.  I won't say that its not been a struggle.  Laying down my will for the Father's is an on-going battle.  I often don't want to relinquish parts of myself, but I'm realizing the only one I'm struggling with is myself.  The Father won't force Himself on me.  I have to lay down at the foot of the cross and die to my old self of my own free will.  I hope you find something useful in the following article.  Blessings!

Perfectionism or Perfect?

I have been a “perfectionist” all my life and yet, I’ve never gotten anything perfect.  Not one thing I’ve done or said couldn’t be improved upon.  It got me thinking on the difference between perfectionism and God telling us to be perfect.  What's the difference?

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."  Matthew 5:48

He knows that I’m not perfect.  He knows that I cannot meet His perfection in myself, because I’m an imperfect, sinful creature, but He gave me a way to meet that perfection.  He gave me His Son.  I can be perfect in Christ.  In Christ.  When I’m walking in the Way.  When I’m following in the footsteps of Jesus.  When I’m making a relationship with my Heavenly Father and doing what He’s asked, because I love Him and I want to please Him, that’s when I’m perfect in Christ.

This perfection isn’t of myself.  It isn’t even my standards.  In fact “my standards” is the exact definition of perfectionism.  I’m not meeting my standards, my vision of perfect.  But, hello!  I’m not going to see it right.  I’m warped, thanks to Adam and Eve.  How could I ever expect to meet perfection under my own power?

God gave examples of people in the Bible who were considered perfect.

Noah was called a just man and perfect.  Genesis 6:9

God told Abram to walk before Him and be perfect.  Genesis 17:1  And later called him His friend.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says that Christ’s strength is made perfect in weakness.  Meaning our ability to overcome the worldly inclinations, our sin nature, can only be won out thru the Holy Spirit.  Christ residing in us.  No other than that.

James 1:22 – Be doers of the word, not just hearers.

The way to cross the bridge from perfectionist to being perfect, because God is perfect, is simply in my choice of whose standards I’m willing to lean upon.  My standards or His.  Am I willing to do as He has asked of me or am I only interested in my viewpoint?  Am I willing to give over my will to His?

This has been a very difficult lesson for me, for I am a strong-willed individual.  I have always thought I could do whatever needed doing.  Its been the theme of my life since I was very young.  You grow up fast when you have a sickly mother and a very busy (and often self-involved) father.  However, I won’t blame them for my behaviors, my choices.  I’ve been out from under their home rule since I was 16, so I have to face up to the fact that I am not acting solely based on reaction to their choices and behaviors.

I go before my Lord in prayer.  I bring my perfectionistic attitudes to You Lord and I confess them as sin.  I’ve been trying to do things under my own guidance, rather than asking You for help.  I don’t want to continue in that direction, because its getting me nowhere.  Rather, I want to relinquish my life to my Heavenly Father, to do with as You please.  Jesus, take my life and make me holy and perfect, in the Father’s sight.  Make me a living sacrifice.  I give my will to you Lord.  Do with it as You please.  Amen.

Obedience to YHWH’s Will

ObedienceOBEDIENCE

 

Dying to our will,

Living for YHWH’s will

 

 

"The true follower of Christ will not ask, "If I embrace this truth, what will it cost me?" Rather he will say, "This is truth. God help me to walk in it, let come what may!""  – A. W. Tozer

 

"The cross is laid on every Christian. It begins with the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with His death… we give over our lives to death. Since this happens at the beginning of the Christian life, the cross can never be merely a tragic ending to an otherwise happy religious life. When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow Him, or it may be a death like Luther's, who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time… death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at His call. That is why the rich young man was so loath to follow Jesus, for the cost of his following was the death of his will. In fact, every command of Jesus is a call to die, with all our affections and lusts. But we do not want to die, and therefore Jesus Christ and His call are necessarily our death and our life."  –  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

"We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed."  –  Brother Lawrence

 

"The man that believes will obey; failure to obey is convincing proof that there is no true faith present. To attempt the impossible God must give faith or there will be none, and He gives faith to the obedient heart only."  –  A. W. Tozer

 

"The chief thing is, not to know what God has said we must do, but that God Himself says it to us. It is not the law, and not the book, not the knowledge of what is right, that works obedience, but the personal influence of God and His living fellowship. It is only in the full presence of God that disobedience and unbelief become impossible."  –  Andrew Murray

 

"Before we look at how we make Jesus Lord, we need to see what it is we mean when we talk about lordship. To make Jesus Lord of our life means to surrender control of every area of our life to Him. We come under His authority. His authority is supreme over our authority. We start taking orders from Him – we do what He tells us to do. That's what lordship is – Christ reigning as supreme authority over our life. Making Jesus Lord of our life is not something passive. It's not a state of being, it's a state of doing. Those whom Jesus recognizes as His own are those who do the will of His Father in heaven."  –  Keith Green

 

"What is meant by "follow"? To follow signifies that the way I tread and the place where I go are all decided by someone else. We are following the Lord; therefore we have no authority to decide our own path. The body in its relation to the Head can only obey and follow. If we wish to live out the life of the body of Christ we must cover our own head; that is to say, we must not have our personal opinion, egoistic will or selfish thought. We can only obey the Lord and let Him be the Head."  –  Watchman Nee

 

Prince of Peace, Control My Will

I love this hymn, written by Mary Ann Serrett Barber circa 1801.  A beautiful prayer put to music.  Some of her poem was not used in the hymn.  

 

Prince of Peace, control my will;
Bid the struggling heart be still;
Bid my fears and doubtings cease,
Hush my spirit into peace.

Thou hast bought me with Thy blood,
Opened wide the gate to God;
Peace I ask, but peace must be,
Lord, in being one with Thee.

May Thy will, not mine, be done;
May Thy will and mine be one;
Chase these doubtings from my heart,
Now Thy perfect peace impart.

Savior, at Thy feet I fall,
Thou my life, my God, my all;
Let Thy happy servant be
One forevermore with Thee!

Love for Israel Series – Hayovel

So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the LORD, have spoken it, and I will do it.”  – Ezekiel 36:35, 36
“You shall yet plant vines on the mountains of Samaria…” Jeremiah 31:5

 

love for israel grapes

Hayovel

There is a revelation dawning.  A love for Israel so great that it can be attributed to nothing less than a move of Yah.  There are groups of people who are turning toward Israel with a love so strong its unexplainable, even confusing to others.  Hayovel is one such group.  Started by the Waller family, it has expanded to include several families, with chapters in both the US and Canada.  In addition to the families who are directly involved with the workings of the business, there are hundreds of volunteers.  

Hayovel was created to be a blessing to the farmers of Judea and Samaria.  In their own words, they are there "to strengthen and undergird the often overlooked small independent farmer in Israel through creative networking, education, tourism, and activism.  Our mission is to take an active role in, and educate people about, the prophetic RESTORATION of the land of Israel that is happening TODAY!"

Some of my very dear friends have had the opportunity to join Hayovel in working the land.  Their stories are inspiring, uplifting and exciting.  Each job, whether in the fields or at the camp, is important.  And having heard first hand reports from the the land, my desire to be a part of the work, has grown greatly.  I pray that one day I get that chance.

There are three ways to volunteer.  The larger volunteer opportunity is during the harvest period, between the months of August and October.  There are several time periods a person or family can volunteer for, (2) three-week stays or a six-week stay.  There is alternative stay for those who've volunteered before lasting 10-weeks.  The second volunteer prospect is to help plant.  This job is done in July/August.  The last opportunity is for 'men only', a time for pruning in the months of January-March.  These are also divided into several time slots, the longest being 9 weeks.  For added benefit, they give an idea of the cost of each trip, not including airfare, which can range from $1100 – $1300 round trip.

If your love for Israel is drawing you to want to be a part of something profound, history making, then definitely consider volunteering and getting your hands in the very soil of the land Yah has bestowed to His people!