“You Might Be a Legalist If…”

The following list is not original on my part, I am unsure of who came up with it. But even though I didn’t write it, I want you to read it.

All that’s needed is Jeff Foxworthy to add his voice and declare, “You might be a legalist if…”

1) God’s love for me depends on what I do.

2) Meeting the expectations of others, especially those in my congregation or in positions of authority, are paramount.

3) Moral and ethical questions are usually black and white and only made into fuzzy shades of gray by hand-wringing, bleeding-heart types.

4) I try hard to obey God and it irritates me that others think they can get away with avoiding the same level of dedication.

5) I fall short because I don’t have enough faith, or because I haven’t prayed enough, or because I just need to be a better person.

6) God is predisposed to be angry with me because I am a sinner. My main goal in life is to try to gain God’s favor by doing things that will impress him.

7) My sense of spiritual well-being is linked to a Christian leader or membership in my church rather than a personal relationship with God.

8) I tell my children not to do something in church or around other Christian families that I allow in my home.

9) I believe my church is God’s true church and that most other Christians may be sincere, but are sincerely wrong.

10) The exterior choices a person makes in what they wear, hairstyle, piercings, tattoos, etc. is a clear indication of that person’s character.

11) I sometimes worry that people might take advantage of grace if it’s preached too much —people might think they can do anything they want.

12) After being around Christians for a while I feel drained —weary of putting up a false front.

13) When I happen to miss a service or activity of my church I feel guilty.

14) I will likely get into heaven, even though I’m far from perfect, because I have tried to be a basically good person and God will take that into account.

So, are you a legalist? I used to be, but I still struggle. That is the reason for this blog. That is why I call myself a “recovering” legalist.


Filed under Church, legalism

8 responses to ““You Might Be a Legalist If…”

  1. I have been going through a season of realising that I am in fact a legalist. But I have been struggling to accept and believe in the grace God offers me on a daily basis. I find it hard to pray and read the bible now that I know my performance doesn’t change how God sees me. I just don’t know what to do at this point.

    • Hey! I wear glasses, too! But anyway, thanks for the comment and willingness to share your heart. I’d like to offer some help with your reading and praying problem, but first I’d like to ask a personal question…it will help to determine how I phrase an illustration… Are you married?

      • Oh cool.. Thanks a ton. No, I am engaged though, getting married at the end of the year, if that helps at all.

      • That’s great! Close enough 🙂

        As I read your comment it became clear you are heading in the right direction. You are experiencing the very thing that many legalist would fear about living a life of grace – without the demands there’s no incentive. But the truth is that grace is not meant to free us from any responsibility or commitment; it’s supposed to free us to do the good things out of love.

        The reason I asked about marriage is because of what loving couples will eventually face after the honeymoon phase is over. Many times, once the time of wooing and dating is over, once the ring is on the finger, one or both of the couple may let themselves go. In other words, once the commitment has been made and both are relatively sure the other one is there to stay, why dress as nice, write syrupy love letters, or constantly go out on dates? The job is done – you’re married. Unfortunately, this sense of security can lead to a lot of problems, even divorce, because far less time is being devoted to the relationship in order to “win” it.

        Be assured, if you are a child of God, part of the Bride of Christ, your relationship is most certainly sure! He will remain faithful, even when you are not. However, in order for that relationship to mature into a love that increases with each and every day, you need to keep thinking of the “dating” phase. No, you are not bound by legalistic laws, but you should be drawn by the bonds of love.

        Just think on that for a while and let me know if it helps.

      • Wow. Thank you. This just spoke to so many things in my life. Thanks for taking the time to speak to me. 🙂 God Bless.

  2. Pingback: “You Might Be a Legalist If…” | Live 4 Him

  3. I absolutely was a legalist. January of this year I left the Pentecostal denomination and had my eyes opened.

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