The New Laws of Obligation


#1

In the words of my husband: Church duties, tithing, dedication, attendance, service, etc have become the modern man’s Law.

Grace says follow the Spirit. The Law says You Have To Do… or God won’t be pleased with you.

If we’re doing anything at all out of obligation or guilt, coercion or even habit, maybe we’re keeping the law, rather than basking in His grace. I think we should do whatever we are doing out of an outpouring of divine energy and freedom. And we should feel free to NOT do anything but hang out with our families if that’s what He is leading us to do.

I think there’s a large part of human nature that feels he has to be doing something amazing, difficult, sacrificial, or whatever the case may be, in order to be living the life of Christ. I know I have always gotten great worth out of my service and have felt pretty crappy not having an outlet for my gifts. Like I was wasting God’s gifting; like I was being selfish to just be home with my kids & enjoy the beach.

But I always think about how many years He was just at home, in his dad’s carpenter shop, just living. I also know now how much healing God has and still is doing in me after many years of complete religious burnout & guilt-ridden living- both physically & emotionally. And I try to rest in that.

Hey- if God ever needs me, I’m pretty sure He’ll let me know. Lol

A few years before we left the legalism our church had become, we began walking in the freedom of grace rather than obligation.

We quit all our volunteer jobs (For me it was leading worship, taking up the youth, running the church website, teaching multiple classes in the homeschool coop, and some other leadership roles) and for a season, we rested from our years-long labors.

And we told the powers that be that we would be taking some time to hear God for what He wanted us to do, and that we would do nothing out of obligation.

Well you probably know what happened. All hell broke loose. We were politely gossiped about and subtly shunned. Folks came to “check on us”, to see “where our hearts were”.

There were even personal betrayals. Here’s an example of one:

I sent one of my closest friends a private email where i wrote about my struggle with putting my church jobs over my family, and my desire to do NOTHING but what God wanted me to, rather than what man had guilted me into… and she forwarded it to all the elders. Yeah, she did.

That was the Beginning of the End.

Less than two years later we were asked to leave. And we lost the adopted family we had built our lives around for 19 years.

So yeah. Satan hates Grace.

But I digress. My points are: the Law can show up dressed in the Suit of Service & singing praises to the Lord. And when we try to get out from under it, man & Satan, and our own fears, can try to put us back down under.

I hope ya’ll are walking in freedom this beautiful Sunday! We’ll be at the beach. :beach_umbrella: :grinning:


#2

Been there, done that! The Christian expectation is alive and well, as a new sort of code of laws that “must be followed”. :grimacing::rage::slightly_frowning_face:

I was thinking about posting something today about having a guilt (and religious) free Sunday!

I spent a good chunk of the day riding my motorcycle around backroads, enjoying the sun (and the Son). A few years ago I would’ve felt guilt about not being “in church”.


#3

Amy - what an awesome post and testimony. Thank you!


#4

amydenson6,
I so relate. Sounds like a truck load of pain. My heart is out to you. Hugs, Amy!

Before learning of my identity IN Christ, and that God was already loving me, no more/no less than EVER, I believed that my giftings was all about who I was. I had come from extreme legalism in Old Covenant law/religion. I had no clue about “Christ in you/me, the hope of glory.” I felt alive, i.e., doing something that made a difference with my songs and interpretive dance, (at a women’s ministry and at Teen Challenge in Minneapolis) when I was involved in singing my songs God had “downloaded” into my heart.

When the bottom fell out of my life in 2009, I went into warp-dri whirling confusion. There was not one outlet for any of that. One church I tried attending, the pastor told me if I wanted to do dance worship, I could “do it outside” and his assistant told me it would be best if I found another place for worship. I was crushed.

Then I was told by the next pastor, “We have to find out why God brought you to us.” I thought, “W-h-a-a-t??!! How about just loving me?”

The mistake I made was that I was so sure of my “identity” was in my giftings, that I could fit into their music ministry and let my dance gifting flow. Not! He said that would make people uncomfortable. I had read Frank Viola’s book by that time, “Pagan Christianity” and the pieces began to fit the puzzle. I finally left, and have not set foot into a church service in about six years.

I ache for connection and intimacy of heart and soul in The Body.


#5

I’m so sorry for your pain! Yep our paths are so similar. This is why I rely So heavily on my relationships with my like minded FB friends. Thank you and God bless! Hugs back!


#6

Thank you for your kind comment!


#7

Sounds like a PERFECT Sunday!


#8

Yes indeed. I have hope that we can meet up sometime. Fellowship is vital…I am starved for it.