The Law Laden Mindset
You don’t have to live the Christian life too long before you may experience a “law laden mindset” in someone. This can be one of the most confusing issues that we come across in Christianity and can be found in so many different forms.
Everyone is at a different place in their walk with God but it is possible for someone to get off course. At the heart of it is a life that has come to Christ, but has not completely renewed the mind in the truth that sets people free. It is like a person gets saved by God’s grace, then lives by the law. Our transformation comes inside-out, not by working on externals. God wants us to continue to live by faith, trusting in His grace (His ability within us) and goodness.
Truth & Law
For one, truth and law are not the same. Truth is a Person, the law is something that God gave that was part of an inferior covenant. Truth is that which is “living” and flows from the heart and mind of God, imparting “life” rather than something dead going nowhere. Understanding the law, it has no power of it’s own except to kill apart from the Spirit. The law is good when” the Spirit awakens it” in our hearts, but dead if it is only a list that we are following. In other words, the law can be living truth when the Spirit breathes the revelation of it in our hearts. But it cannot transform, but only kill on it’s own. (2 Cor. 3:6) The fruit of living by the law is condemnation, fear and guilt. The fruit of living by God’s truth by the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and intimacy with the Father. (Gal. 5:22) The law was and is not able to produce good fruit. The law is good for your library (your mind), but is not transformational. Just as the Word of God is dead without the Spirit, so our study apart from the Holy Spirit’s help is vain. The Holy Spirit is the author of The Book. Just as the “teachers of the law” and “religious leaders” knew the law inside out but rejected Jesus Christ, so it is with anyone who with God.
Don’t Hurt Yourself, Lose Yourself
A plan is only as good as the person who inspired it. We need to train people to change directions, lifting their eyes up to see Him and in abide in Him. Only God’s power, Presence and Spirit are able to make a life new. There is only one way that we are transformed into Christ’s image, by beholding the face of Christ. It is important that believers learn that experience with God is part of their inheritance in Christ. Through a life that is engaged in intimate connection with God we are changed or “fixed”. Our lives are not changed through our “self-focus”, but through having lost our lives in His Presence. When He died, we died. It is finished.
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
There is no other method that works. When our mind is renewed in His truth by the Holy Spirit, the image of God will be refreshed in our lives. The reality of what Christ achieved on the cross is realized and implemented in our lives through revelation by the Spirit. Don’t hurt yourself by trying to fix yourself, but lose yourself by keeping Your focus on Him. It really is an “oxymoron”. The very thing you think will fix you actually makes things worse. By taking your eyes off yourself and putting your focus on the Lord you will be changed!
What about legalism? Where does it come from? How does it affect people? Legalism can come in so many forms. There are more obvious forms that we think of that come in completely “dry” places of religion. But there is also the “spiritual perfection” expression of legalism that can come in a charismatic/pentecostal package. What can make this so confusing is where you have some aspect of God’s Presence in the midst of people, but the foundation of thinking is not rooted in the grace of God. This is why “how we think” is so important. “Watchdogs” rule by fear, intimidation and condemnation. (Galatians 2:4) Those who are influenced by this mindset wind up caught in fear, shame and condemnation – rather than experiencing the freedom, life, peace and joy Jesus came to give us.
“Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.”
The Imperfect Church
The fact is that God takes people where they are. As we look at the 7 churches in the Book of Revelation, there are those that lack certain things. Then there are churches that have certain things. God praises churches for what they have, but then rebukes them for what they don’t – warning them that they will lose their lamp stand if they don’t change. At last, He gives them this incentive: “to him who overcomes” with a promise of reward. It is by the grace of God that we stand. The gospel we have been entrusted with is “the gospel of His kingdom and grace”. We don’t have two gospels, but one. It is “good news” through Jesus Christ; His Spirit of grace and power manifesting the rule of God in the earth through us. We don’t have a gospel of kingdom and law, but of heaven on earth with great grace. It is foundational for us to be filled with the Spirit of grace. (Matt. 4:23. Acts 20:24)
2 Timothy 2:1
“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
Embracing the Easy Yoke of Jesus
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Perfectionism and legalism go hand in hand. Perfectionists can easily lose sight of grace, love and mercy. Legalism is created in different ways. Legalism is a lie, a thought, a man-made law or way of doing things that is imposed upon others to bring them underneath a heavy yoke of bondage. Jesus came to release people from heavy burdens. He described the Pharisees and religious leaders as those who put heavy burdens upon others without carrying these burdens themselves, basically slave-drivers. The yoke of Jesus is “easy” and His burden is “light”. No heavy burdens are allowed in His kingdom. Heavy burdens have nothing to do with freedom but are oppressive implements man has created.
The foundation of our thinking needs to be laid with grace, mercy and truth. This is the foundation for freedom that the Holy Spirit will rest on. Take time to make sure you are taking on the “easy yoke” that Jesus died for. God does not indwell you to hold you down, but to lift you up in His peace and glory.
The Law Laden Mindset