31 Days :: Day 4 – Bonded Legalist or Liberated Bride?

This Morning:

  • Journal about your thought patterns…. adding anything new that may have come up overnight.
  • Spend some time in prayer, seeking to really draw closer to God. Your time with Him is about building the most important relationship in your life. It is not about checking off one of the items on this Bible study’s to-do list.
Devotion: Bonded Legalist or Liberated Bride?

My 6-year-old is a perfectionist. He gets it honest. In the past few months, I’ve been trying to calmly help him understand that everything he does is not going to be perfect. He’s not always going to win. He’s not always going to get the color completely inside the lines exactly. His entire homework assignment may be absolutely pristine, but if he accidentally writes a letter one millimeter taller than the rest of the letters, he flips. For goodness sake… he’s only been learning to write for a couple of years! I wish he wouldn’t have inherited this cursed gene of mine.

Through Jeffrey’s eyes and also through reading a friend’s book, I’m learning about the root behind my own perfectionistic tendencies and how deeply those tendencies affect my thinking. It comes from a need to please. A need to somehow prove myself to God. That I am worthy of his love. So I guess you could say it’s actually rooted in insecurity. We’ll hit that beast head-on in a couple of weeks.

So when the perfectionist in me sneaks into my spiritual life, the spend-time-with-God need becomes more about ME than about my RELATIONSHIP with Him. It’s more about checking off my box… less about checking into Him. Honestly, I believe that leads me to push God away. If I can’t read and pray and have my good girl “quiet time” every day, then I don’t want to do it at all. Because I just feel guilty when I miss a day. Am I alone? Have you been there? Then have you found yourself just getting mad or depressed because of it? Vicious. Cycle.

In these full-of-bondage, beat-myself-down moments, I am living by the law. Not the Spirit. However, the Spirit is what truly gives life.

Read this from 2 Corinthians 3:4-18:

“Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

Amen and amen. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Not bondage. Not perfectionism. Not anxiety over the little things in life. Not a demand to check off my “quiet time” box everyday. For the letter {alone} kills, but the Spirit gives life. There is FREEDOM in Christ. I don’t HAVE to spend time with Him. I WANT to spend time with Him.

When our mindsets become that of WANTING to have a relationship with Christ and WANTING to do what He says, then we are becoming more like Him. And our perfectionistic, insecure, legalistic tendencies begin to melt away. We find a peace and a freedom that we have never known. And we want others to experience the same thing.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

To Make You Think:

  1. Are you a bonded legalist or a liberated bride? Do you see your quiet time as more of a box to check off than a building block to your greatest relationship?
  2. How often do you find yourself trying to prove something to God? To your spouse? To your boss? To other family members and friends?
  3. Have you ever pushed God away because you didn’t feel like you could “measure up” to His standards and His rules for you?
  4. Do you now see yourself as FREE in Christ? He wants you to be free. He does not want you, ______, to live in bondage.
The Rest of the Day:
  • Be very conscious of your bondage vs. freedom mindset in different areas of your life today. Notice how perfectionistic you are at work, at home, and in your relationship with God.
  • If this is one of your big thought struggles, I encourage you to check out Emily Freeman’s book Grace for the Good Girl. It opened my eyes to a lot of things in my own life.
  • Journal about all of this tonight.
  • Before you go to sleep, release this mindset to Christ and allow Him to fill your mind with thoughts of His love and freedom. The love and freedom that can only come from Him. And the love and freedom that has been given to our redeemed and forgiven hearts.
See you tomorrow!

Continuing on…  31 Days :: Day 5 – Fear-Gripped Worrier or Resting Daughter?

8 Replies to “31 Days :: Day 4 – Bonded Legalist or Liberated Bride?”

  1. Yes! Yes! and a resounding Yes! Piece by piece, with God's guidance, I have been able to let go. But there are still things that need to be given up, let go,given over, so that I may be free. _Perfectionism controlled my life, it's what would 'drive' me each day. Trusting God is the ultimate measure to complete freedom.
    "Grace for the Good Girl", wonderful and applicable. Also, may I suggest ,'Captivating' by Stasi and John Eldredge.

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