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I’m a firm believer that the Religious Spirit is a thing (a true spirit), and is the same thing as the Political Spirit. Just as the Political Spirit is rooted in the adherents of the political philosophy of a defined way, the Religious Spirit is rooted in a theological philosophy of working out one’s salvation in an approved manner according to the Church: albeit the institution or the assembly.
As a Christian, I was wrapped up in a performance-based theology and lifestyle for much of my life. Instead of seeing tasks – such as mowing the lawn or reading the Bible – as a means of reaching an objective, I saw them as a pathway to gaining self-respect, adoration of others, and approval of God. Eventually, that type of behavior becomes tiresome. At that point, We then sometimes seek approval in the face of failure and even rebellion, just as a child who misbehaves for the sake of attention.
A legalist is someone who
- Has an intense conviction that God works in or through a singular way of doing things, or perhaps with only minor deviations of an approved way of doing things.
- Legalism says that things must be done in “this way,” or “with this truth,” or “with this method.”
- Is highly critical of anyone who doesn’t fit within their definition of how to work out life and service of God.