My family recently moved from Pennsylvania to South Carolina. As a result, I’ve spent much of my free time with my family, enjoying the game of catch up. One of the hardest adjustments in any move is finding your home, not just a house, but a feeling of belonging. For a Christian, that home is usually a church family.
Everyone in my family, but my sister especially, loved the Pennsylvania church. One evening my sister and I spent an hour talking about the pastor and his preaching. Something he said in a sermon about legalism stood out to her, and now it stands out to me so that I can’t miss it wherever I turn. Some people stack all their chairs perfectly in a row, and anyone who comes by and messes up their perfect stack will face the consequences. Other people have a perfectly unstacked mess of chairs, and anyone who tries to stack them will face the consequences.
I’ve always thought of legalism as rules with no heart. In my mind, legalists are chair stackers. But then I realized that I can be just as legalistic with my unstacked chairs if I take pride in my mess and become bitter toward people who want to stack my chairs or their own.
What I’m realizing is that true love for God and others comes from gazing on God’s beauty and becoming so absorbed in Him that I don’t care about my chairs at all. All I care about is the God who created me, who created the chair stackers, who created the chairs themselves, who is the Creator of all. When I gaze at God’s glory, I won’t be able to keep myself from reflecting Him.