Friday, April 11, 2008

All About the Heart

We have rules in our house. Rules like...
  • no band-aid unless there is blood.
  • no hitting,kicking,punching etc, each other.
  • at home, you must pee sitting down. For mom's sanity, you must.
  • you don't have to make your bed, but you do need to clear a path in the Legos so that she can put away your clothes.
  • There are others, but you get the idea

Do you know what happens? My children find ways around these rules. For example, Jakob came up to me this morning with an old "owie" (it had a scab already) He claimed he needed a band-aid and I gave him "the rule." Two minutes later, he returned, to show me the blood he now had...due to peeling the scab off. Even a 2 year old knows there's ways around the rules. He got the band-aid.

I've been thinking (again.) This time, it's about legalism. Probably because it's the last chapter I've read in Breaking Free :) There is such a fine line between godly rules and legalism, and it all has to do with the heart. Anyways, I've been pondering why legalism, or rules to follow is so much easier than genuinely opening ourselves up to loving Jesus and those around us and examining our own hearts.

Here's what I think it all breaks down to...legalism allows us to not look at our motives, which means we never really have to deal with ourselves. It only requires a list of do's and dont's. Obeying a list of rules we've made never requires us to even connect with God, instead, we look at the list and check it off. Yuck.

I am completely and utterly annoyed by legalistic people. I meet them, and I want to run for the hills. It's the very thing I never want to be. Yet, there have been times in my own life when legalism has ruled. At the time, I didn't realize it. But, looking back, I can see it now. It also coincides with the times in my life that pride had free reign. Beth Moore uses a phrase that "Microscopes replace mirrors." How true that is. May the Holy Spirit never allow me to look away from the mirror.

With my boys...I want them to grow up seeing first hand how wonderful a relationship with Jesus is. They will have rules, obviously. But I don't want them to just learn how to obey the rules without understanding and accepting where they come from AND learning how to examine their own hearts. We can find ways around rules, but when confronted with the state of our own hearts...there's just no way around that. Legalism creates resentment in peoples hearts...because deep down inside, we know we can't be good enough.

Today I am praying that in my own heart, and in the hearts of my boys, legalism would not be allowed. That we wouldn't minimize who Jesus is...into a bunch of rules. Rather, that the Holy Spirit will help us to show our faith for what it really is. May we not get in the way of Jesus. May we fully appreciate the love, mercy, and forgiveness He has shown us and then go out and show that to others.

Happy Friday!


  1. Great post! I want my heart to be one that follows fully after God not just one that follows all the rules.
    Have a great weekend!

  2. Amen, sister! In my early walk with the Lord, I was one of those legalistic people. I even burned records, cassettes. Now I think ... how dumb ... those are probably worth something now or man, I wish I could listen to those old 70s and 80s songs.

    As I've grown in the Lord, I've become way more laid back and FREE!! There is truly freedom and joy in the Lord when you understand who HE really is! Thank God I'm free from that legalism.

    Have you read "Velvet Elvis"? If you haven't, DO. It opened my eyes to a lot of wrong patterns of legalistic thinking that I had.

    Anyway, sorry for the long comment. Wish I could come over and talk and shopping sounds like lots of fun! We would totally be BFFs if you lived down here.

    Talk to you soon!

  3. Awesome posts. We happen to know some people who have awesome ministries who may get nasty looks in some church buildings across America. They are men with long hair, wear do rags, are heavily tatooed and sometimes smoke cigars. Yet, their hearts are so devoted to Jesus and they have led so many toward him. That is true beauty.

  4. Outstanding! Thank you for your transparency.
    It is truely much easier to follow a list of dictates, than to listen for the Spirit and look for God's leading in EVERY situation! (I think that was a run on sentence!)
    Am I called to look good to others, or God? Fear of man and all that Jazz.
    My husband was raised by and attorney. As such he is the master of finding loop-holes.
    The SPIRIT of the law is much harder to run from than the LETTER of the law.

  5. Yep. Yep. Yep. And yep. And amen. I've been on both sides of legalism, and it's ugly either way. And I think this is something in it that minimizes God. Who are we to think that connecting with and pleasing our infinite maker could be put in such a very tiny box??

    I took a high school girl I disciple through Romans 14 & 15 recently. It's all about your MOTIVE, and the only resonable motive is LOVE and love never does anything SELFISHLY. In fact, God broke all kinds a rules in His love for us--taking on flesh, for example. Since when does God have FLESH? Since God so loved the people of this nasty, messed up world, that's when. And if God can do THAT, then I can live freely in the convictions God has given me, and still restrain myself for the sake of my brother. Such freedom is an amazing gift, and follows an amazing example.

    Thank you again,

    P.S. Having you ever read Swindoll's book "The Grace Awakening"? I only got half-way through, and it changed my life. Turns out, I was a 'grace-killer' for awhile there... ICK!

  6. Nice post. Totally reminds me of something I'm going through right now...I'll post on that later. Shell

  7. Brilliant child - lol, I need the bleeding rule after we found 10 bandaids stuck all over the bathroom counter the other day.

    When I first felt true freedom, it was so overwhelming that I wasn't worried about the rules - it was just right. Then time goes on, and rules just become part of it - you know what you should and should not do - I just love this post - it took me back. Thanks!

  8. Man oh man... truth, freedom,and HIM... what more could a person want or desire?!

    Thanks for this inspiring post to look to Him as we look at ourselves.

    The beauty, the freedom, the joy ... it's all aout the heart!

  9. good stuff. seems when we think we know everything, esp about how God works, He shows us we know nada.
    go get them band-aids jake!

  10. Hi Sarah!

    I saw your blog title on "The Preacher's Wife", too:) How funny! I was surprised at how close the names are. Yes, it must be the great mind thing :)))

    This was a great post. I just started blogging and am learning how to manage mine. I love the blogging sisterhood of Christian women. It is so awesome and makes the effort and time worthwhile. I haven't told anyone that I have a blog so there have not been any comments posted -- accept yours!

  11. Terrific post, Sarah. This is my heart's cry. I could say so much more, but for now, I'll leave it at that.


Thanks for commenting, you make blogging fun. :) If your comment doesn't appear right away, it's because it's awaiting moderation, but it will show up soon!