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The Performance Treadmill (17 of 34)
Series: Good News from God
This past week my children started a new job walking our neighbor's dogs. Fortunately, these two dogs are small and easy to walk. However, I know this isn't the case with all dogs. Perhaps you've seen someone walking a dog on a leash when the dog doesn't want to go where its owner is going? The owner is constantly tugging on the leash pulling the dog back from here and there and telling it to stop and start. That's the way a lot of Christians live. They're on a "Law leash." Their lives consist of, "stop that; come back here; don't do that," only it's in terms of, "read your Bible; pray; witness; go to church; serve; be Christ-like." Now, there's nothing wrong with these things. They are all biblical. But God never meant us to do them at the end of a leash! What a difference it is when you see a dog and its owner have a strong relationship. The dog doesn't need the leash to go for a walk. Its owner can just speak a word and the dog responds. I'm not comparing you to a dog. Rather, I'm comparing performance to relationship.
For years I've been on a "Law leash." I've tried to perform spiritually by reading my Bible, praying, witnessing, serving, and being Christ-like. I've always assumed that I've been driven by my love for God. Yet, over the years I've sensed the failure and frustration of trying to measure up to my own expectations. It's not the expectations of others as much as it is my own quest for excellence. Like a recovering alcoholic, I could say, "Hi, my name is Keith and I'm a legalist" (hopefully a recovering legalist). Perhaps you're unfamiliar with the term legalism? Legalism is "that fleshly attitude which conforms to a code in order to glorify self." It is anything done in self-effort and human ability apart from the enablement of the Holy Spirit. This includes the spiritual disciplines and Christian qualities like kindness and gentleness done in our o ...
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