Recently I noticed two lies those in the American church frequently believe. These clever lies from the deceiver have created a fear of being untrue to our God, but the result is that many are actually going against His heart. I discussed the first lie here.
The second lie is one I’m seeing predominantly among young believers. Current and recent college students and others in that age bracket, believers and non-believers alike, are very focused on doing good. The previous lie is not working on them, as they truly believe they can change the world and are fighting to make it happen. They are frequently abandoning the things their predecessors viewed as important – a stable job, possibly with the same company for decades, a 401(k), a white picket fence and 2.5 children – and are pursuing passions that are bigger than the individual or family. Passions that aren’t focused on their comfort and financial security.
The believers in this population are excited to do the things to which God calls them and are ready to sacrifice their time, their well-paying career possibilities, their vacations, their future, to make the world a better place for others. To build a better life for people they’ve possibly never met, maybe half a world away.
The idea that doing good is a bad thing is completely foreign to this population. So satan needed a different approach.
This group of believers has fully embraced the freedom that comes with following Jesus. And satan is capitalizing on it. This group, who is so wholeheartedly walking in Jesus’s shoes, down dusty roads, serving the poor and marginalized, fears becoming a Pharisee. So the lie satan whispers is: “You’re being legalistic.”
I should read my Bible daily. “You’re being legalistic.” I should submit to the rulers placed over me, and therefore drive the speed limit. “You’re being legalistic.” I should return to God a portion that He has given me by tithing. “You’re being legalistic.”
This isn’t to say that no one in this generation does any of these things. Many do. But when the impetus is “I should” rather than a compelling personal desire, then it is dismissed as legalism.
We have a new generation of Christians who are “sold out to Jesus”, “living radical, impactful lives” who are so scared of walking out of the freedom of Jesus into Pharisaicism, that they reject self-discipline and submission. Anything towards which they are not compelled with passion, any “should”, is dismissed. They choose to live in disobedience rather than giving up their freedom, avoiding anything that could be labeled “legalism”.
Satan has stunted the growth and weakened the foundation of the young church in America. His brilliant lie that doing something for any reason other than excitement and passion is “legalism” has caused us to live in disobedience and forsake the very things God wants to use to grow and strengthen us.