Watch Out for a New Kind of LEGALISM
Dare we create a new legalism where we compare and compete to suffer most for Jesus?
As we were settling into our less expensive, but plenty nice and comfy home in the suburbs, Perry and I were catching up on our lives outside of church. Perry described how their family of four recently moved from their remodeled, awesome house in central Austin to an apartment.
I said, “Wow! What was behind that?”
Perry said, “We read this book called Anything.” She winked, but she was serious. The apartment was a step in the path of obedience for their family as they had prayed the prayer that jacks with your life.
I celebrated with her the new dreams they were dreaming and all that God was doing in and around them, the apartment only a tiny symbol of God moving their souls.
But I felt sick. If I am really honest, I was sick because I began to compare, and rather than an apartment or a mud hut — we had just found the perfect paint color for our house.
It had been over a year since I had written the last word of Anything, and over three years since praying the prayer for the first time. And the radical chaos was ebbing, and our lives were feeling in some ways settled and comfy again.
Disclaimer: I NEVER imply in the book or in my theology that God requires the selling of possessions or sheer martyrdom. God is after our unreserved, surrendered obedience. Of course, often He takes our plenty and portions it out, if we hand over everything.
But for a minute I was feeling like if my life wasn’t hard and stretched out to the point of possibly ripping in two, was I even still living “anything?”
And it had me feeling like a hypocrite.
I shouldn’t mislead you … our lives are far from simple. We are juggling lots of demanding ministries, four kids, one nearly 13 (enough said there), in the last months we have fought depression, wrestled as we chose to hold back one of our kids because of learning difficulties, attachment issues with Cooper, a demanding move, walked through some of the worst kinds of death and darkness with two of our best friends …
but talking to Perry outside of church for just one minute, life was peaceful … for a moment, we weren’t jumping off any big cliffs.
BUT this isn’t a game, a competition of sorts. Dare we create a new legalism where we compare and compete to suffer most for Jesus. We will have enough hard without chasing it.
But the message of our generation is “live radical.”