What threatens your family?  We could look to answer the question of what threatens THE family, as in the institution of the family, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about everyday people like you and me.  What threatens our families?

After a simple google search on what threatens the family, here are a few notable answers:

Others might add to the list: porn, workaholism, the definition of the family, or even Facebook.
I think one could argue an number of points, but I would say something different when I think of what threatens my family.  Here is what it is:

Legalism.

Over 30 years ago my life was transformed by Jesus.  I remember that day like it was yesterday.  I remember the joy, the freedom and sheer excitement I had in my newfound realization that God loved me and wanted to know me personally.

My heart was set free.

But then it wasn’t.  Not long after I walked into this Life, I began to learn the “ought-to’s” of Christianity.  I ought to read my Bible, not cuss, tell people about Jesus, go to church, have “quiet times”, be a good example, make disciples, get baptized, and on and on and on.

I was listening to this sermon recently and heard a few quotes that struck me:

In 1963, S. Lewis Johnson wrote an article, “The Paralysis of Legalism“.

One of the most serious problems facing the orthodox Christian church today is the problem of legalism. One of the most serious problems facing the church in Paul’s day was the problem of legalism. In every day it is the same. Legalism wrenches the joy of the Lord from the Christian believer, and with the joy of the Lord goes his power for vital worship and vibrant service. Nothing is left but cramped, somber, dull and listless profession. The truth is betrayed, and the glorious name of the Lord becomes a synonym for a gloomy kill-joy.”

Dr. Steve Brown said in his book, A Scandalous Freedom: The Radical Nature of the Gospel,

The good news is that Christ frees us from the need to obnoxiously focus on our goodness our commitment and our correctness.  Religion has made us obsessive almost beyond endurance.  Jesus invited us to a dance and we’ve turned  it into a march of soldiers always checking to see if we’re doing it right and we’re in step with all the other soldiers.”

People need life.  You, me, our friends, our neighbors and our kids.  We all need life.  Life is found in Jesus, not in the “ought-to’s” of christianity.

When we focus on our kids on things they ought to be doing, we skip the process of their hearts connecting to Jesus, and instead focus them on having the appearance of being connected to him.  This type of shortcut is dangerous, and one that turns our kids and our neighbors off to hearing more about their loving Father.

We begin to compare our families to others’ and just end up trying to do more good, religious activity than what they are.  Parents get tired, kids get bored, and ultimately the Gospel of grace gets lost.

I’d encourage you to stop and think about your family.  Are you busy with activity, yet forgetting the object of your affection?

Is legalism a threat to your family as well?

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