Not Legalism, Not Lawlessness

Psalms 5:8-12 NLT
Lead me in the right path, O lord , or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow.
My enemies cannot speak a truthful word. Their deepest desire is to destroy others. Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with flattery.
O God, declare them guilty. Let them be caught in their own traps. Drive them away because of their many sins, for they have rebelled against you.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. For you bless the godly, O lord ; you surround them with your shield of love.


These enemies, they are spiritual and unseen powers that work through us if we allow them to. So if we have Christ in us, we choose to either let this Holy Spirit of Christ in us, of Love, work through us, bearing these fruits of the spirit – or we choose to live fruitless lives.

The right path, the narrow path, is to follow a path that we cannot walk on our own – in fact, it is against our very nature to walk this path, which is why we must walk with Christ. And to do this, we repent of our sins, we ask for forgiveness, we hope in His promise of salvation, we ask Him to come into our lives as our personal Savior, we seek Him daily in our lives through prayer, through time in the Word, through fellowship with other believers, through keeping His commandments, and through loving and serving others.

Our nature is to either fall into lawlessness, ignoring His commandments and living a life filled with all kinds of focus on self, trapped in things that initially seem only to be harmless pleasures, but that have consequences both seem and unseen –

Or our nature is to fall into religious legalism, ignoring His love and mercy even for those who are His enemy, still focused on self, but using His commandments to judge and accuse and condemn and tear down others instead of loving, and encouraging, and forgiving, and serving, and building up others.

Without Christ guiding us and making the path clear, our futures are not bright.

These spiritual enemies lie. They will tell those in the ditch of legalism to point their fingers at those in lawlessness and attack them and tear them down – not lifting a hand to help them – just kicking them while they are down.

These spiritual enemies lie. They will tell those in the ditch of lawlessness that Christianity is just the religion of those hypocrites that love to kick them and that hate them. They will tell them that Christ is just a bunch of jealous people who don’t want them to be able to enjoy their pleasures since their religious rules don’t allow allow them to.

But being a follower of Christ is not either of those. A follower of Christ has this Holy Spirit alive inside them – guiding and teaching and convicting them to repent of their sin, and to ask for forgiveness for stumbles – and bearing fruits to be shared in love, mercy, and forgiveness towards others.

The conviction is supposed to be a surgical instrument aimed inward at those things that need to be fixed in our own lives, not as a weapon raised against another person. The mercy is supposed to be shared with others, not hoarded for ourselves.

And people that don’t have Christ but who act the opposite, their own choices will be their downfall. Those who do not love God’s ways but love the darkness, those who deny Him in their lives because they love pleasures and self above God will get what they are asking for – separation from God. Those who do not love their neighbor, those who do not show forgiveness, and mercy, and love to others – they have not received forgiveness and mercy and love themselves – they have never known Christ.

Those that live by the sword condemning and accusing others, they will die by the sword of their own words of unforgiveness. The one that hates and condemns his neighbor for the sexual sin of adultery, will stand convicted for his own sexual sin of lustful thoughts towards the other’s wife or daughter. Who can expect to withhold forgiveness and mercy and love towards others, and receive anything themselves?

So if we do not take refuge in you, Lord, if we are in lawlessness, convict us strongly of our evil ways so we will understand our need for Christ in our lives, leading us to a repentant life.

So if we do not take refuge in you, Lord, if we are in legalism and have no love or mercy towards others, make our own sins come crashing down around our heads to humble us and make it clear that we need mercy, so we should show mercy.

Lord, please be gentle with your discipline for those meek and eager to listen and learn – but be strong and bold with a rebuke and with consequences to break through the strong willed and the hard of heart. Break us, Lord, and mold us into a vessel for your use.

To any that read this, my journal for the lesson that I am learning today, please have a blessed day. If this lesson is just for my life, I thank you for taking the time to care about what is going on in my life. If there is a lesson in this for you as well, I am thankful to the Lord that He provides.

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