Pride and Legalism
I recently had shoulder surgery and haven’t been able to leave my house in days. Let me just tell you, you learn an awful lot about your neighbors when the highlight of your day is meandering outside to get some fresh air and something new to look at! Yikes! And it may just be the wacky pain meds, but I’ve also had lots of time to think and reflect about life in general. I’ve discovered my husband is a saint, like an actual saint guys! I am a very independent person, I hate when I can’t do things by myself. So, he patiently watches as I stubbornly attempt to do things, full-on knowing that with my entire prominent arm out of commission I am going to fail epically! Then, when I get frustrated and give up, he calmly steps in and untangles the shirt I’m trying to put on, or pulls up the blanket I can’t reach. He is such a great guy!
As I was sitting here reflecting on my week while the rest of my family is gone to church, it dawned on me, how much spiritual legalism is like me trying to put a shirt on unassisted right now. It’s all about my pride. I don’t like to ask for help, so I try really hard to do it on my own, and only when it is undeniable that I am not going to succeed do I then break down and ask for help. It’s like my salvation. How I used to do things. On my own.
I used to think God needed my assistance in my salvation like there was something I needed to contribute to the situation in order to make it work. So I tried for years to prove to God, myself, and everyone around me I was capable of pulling my own shirt over my head. I was capable of making my own way to heaven without even having to ask for His assistance. I mean, why do I need God’s help when I could simply read enough, pray enough, give enough, dress good enough, have long enough hair, go to enough church services, and make it on my own?
But that was exhausting.
I felt like I was slowly drowning.
It wasn’t until I let go of my pride and acknowledged Christ was indeed my Saviour did I discover that Jesus truly is my rest. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. I used to look down on the people who used terminology such as “accept Christ”. I thought they were missing out on some elaborate secret and were weak in their faith in some way. Turns out, they were stronger. Turns out it takes more humbling of my own self and faith in an unseen being to let go and completely trust God to save me than it does to run the hamster wheel of legalism.
I just imagine the Father standing there waiting, just like my husband has been. Watching from the sidelines as I struggle and wear myself out trying to do something on my own, too prideful to admit I can’t do it by myself. Then, because he is a good Father and the perfect gentleman when I stumble, he doesn’t swoop in uninvited, tell me “I told you so”, and take over. He waits calmly and patiently until I realize I need him, humble myself, and ask him to assist me.
Things tend to go much more smoothly now. No more struggling to make sure I have every little detail perfect. I know I can rest in Christ and have faith that the cross was enough.
If only I would apply this concept to my physical situation at the moment. I’m sure my husband would appreciate it!