Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 104:19-30 | Isaiah 19:1-21:17 | Galatians 2:1-16 | Proverbs 23:13-14
Today’s Scripture Focus: Galatians 2:1-16
This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.  We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you. (Galatians 2:4-5 NIV)
Be careful of any system that adds requirements to the gospel. One common form of such a system is legalism. Legalism attempts to place people in bondage to a religious system of rules and to take away the freedom that flows from a relationship with Christ. The legalist focuses on appearances—trying hard to impress others (and presumably, God) by how well they keep the rules. It is a system filled with pride and judgment. It is a dangerous religious game that keeps people from the “real thing.”
Legalists always make up a list of rules (and the lists tend to major on minor issues, and totally miss major issues). By trying hard in their own strength to live by their list, they feel they are more spiritual than others.
But real Christianity is not about trying hard to live by the rules. It is about recognizing that I can’t live by the rules on my own and crying out to God for help. Entering into a relationship with Christ, he strengthens me by his Spirit to find the freedom to walk with God on this adventure of faith. As we walk together, I learn, I grow, I fall down, He picks me up, and I learn and grow some more. It’s all about a relationship with Christ.
The focus of true Christianity is not performance, but walking with God in a close intimate relationship. It’s not about rule keeping to look spiritual, but about serving God because I love him. It’s a journey where I know that I am loved by God through it all, and where he comes alongside each step of the way to help me on my way.
There will always be some who will try to steal your freedom and place you in bondage to a religious system. Don’t let them steal your freedom. Find the joy of living in the freedom of a relationship with Christ.