I mentioned several posts back about the reason why I think the way I do. I haven’t forgotten. I knew the post would require some extra care and time.
I have legalistic tendencies that manifested itself into OCD behavior several years ago. Among Christian you can hear the term “legalism” and that refers to being adamant about following laws and rules, especially ones that are made to be able to be obedient to what the Bible says. So these laws and rules are not found in the Bible, but made in order to determine if a law/rule in the Bible has been kept or not. It doesn’t really sound so bad if you think about someone that is just trying to be obedient to God. But it is a trap. One begins to think more about the made up rules than what the Bible actually has said.
There is so much confusion when people think about the Bible. Know that when I refer to the “Bible” I am thinking of the Old Testament and New Testament (and I am not Catholic/Orthodox so I do not include the additional books those groups use).
Whithin the New Testament, in the gospel accounts, we can read about a Jewish group called the Pharisees. These people made up rules to help them keep the law. These rules include bathing rituals and what one could and could not do on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. They didn’t care for Jesus very much because he rained on their parade.
I had similar rules. I had to pray a certain way, and if I messed up I had to start over again. If I didn’t read the Bible that day then God was mad at me. I had to go exactly the speed limit, not even under. I was trying to be perfect. I was trying not to sin. I believed I could lose my salvation. At this time in my life, I was a very immature Christian and was just beginning to learn how to actually study the Bible in context.
I am different now. I am not embracing legalism, but I still struggle with it. I no longer believe I have to work to keep my salvation. I believe that Jesus worked for me and I have right standing before God because of him.
I say all this because I am anxious about doing the wrong thing a lot. I know that isn’t good. I am actively questioning my own rules I want to make. I have to confront the lies (about God and about life) I am believing if I want to change!