By Rick Warren
“I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.” (Philippians 3:9 NLT)
You can’t earn God’s approval. You can’t earn his love. You can’t earn his recognition. God is love, and he loves you unconditionally. If you want to be a happy person, you need to relax in God’s grace every day.
Philippians 3:3 says, “We Christians glory in what Christ Jesus has done for us and realize that we are helpless to save ourselves” (LB).
One of the things that will rob you of your happiness is legalism. Legalism is the attitude that you have to prove your love to God. Legalism is trusting in what you do for God instead of what Jesus did for you. It’s thinking that you have to follow rules and regulations and restrictions in order to prove yourself worthy.
How do you know when you’re a legalist? It’s when you’re judgmental of other people. How do you know when you’re living by grace? It’s when you’re gracious to others. People who live by grace often find it easier to forgive, because they recognize God continues to forgive them.
Legalism will suck your life dry of happiness. It sucks churches dry of happiness. Ever go to a legalistic church? That church is not happy. There’s no joy in a legalistic church. Everybody’s just there out of duty or guilt.
When you finally realize there’s nothing you can do to make God love you more, it is one of the most liberating feelings in the world. And, it is a key to happiness. Every day, remind yourself of the grace of God, and relax in it.
“I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith” (Philippians 3:9 NLT).
Talk It Over
- Even if you trust in God’s grace, what are the little traps of legalism in your daily life?
- How can you “glory in what Christ Jesus has done” for you?