Jackson Five Friday: My Inner Legalist

Hey Friends,

I hope your Friday kicked off as spectacularly as mine. I’m so glad I was up to see the sunrise today, because as much as I love to stay in bed as long as possible, it would’ve been sad to miss the beauty above.

I’ve been thinking about how I’m legalistic about certain things. I think it’s because I have zero self-discipline. If I decide I’m going to run a mile every day on the treadmill, skipping a single day blows my entire plan. If I decide to limit carbs and eat one morsel of a piece of toast, all hell breaks loose, and it’s a day of carb-binging. Some people, like my husband, have inherent self-discipline and don’t need an inner legalist. But I recognize that my inner legalist is a God-given blessing.

On Sunday, January 5th, we drove home from vacation. It’s ten brutal hours in the car with five giant Jacksons crammed into a mid-size SUV. I drove a minivan for sixteen long years, and am thrilled to have that era behind me, except for road trips where nothing on earth compares to its spacious comfort. Anyway, I want to never drive home on a Sunday again. I detest missing church. My fragile little legalist ego feels totally defeated by it. If you cannot relate, it’s probably because you have self-discipline, while I am ever on the verge of being derailed.

C.S. Lewis said:

“…once [you] have accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. That is why daily praying and religious readings and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe…It must be fed…if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?”

Drifting away is a terrifying thought because I know myself. I know I could. I don’t forget to eat food. I am in no danger of accidentally starving to death. But I recognize my inclination to drift away from the God I love. I will never outgrow the need for daily reminders to consume His Word, to seek a community of believers, to gather with the body of Christ to worship. I need all of it more than physical food, but am perpetually inclined to try nourishing my soul with God’s creations instead of God Himself. It’s like the definition of spiritual insanity, but somehow I know I am not the only kook.

Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Psalm‬ ‭1:1-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Yes, whether you have an inner legalist or not, delighting over and meditating on the law of the Lord is the answer. How are you doing on this? Are you delighting and meditating? Where is your life planted? Are you yielding fruit or withering?

Lord Jesus, help me to do better. I want to be that sturdy, strong and fruitful tree. I know how to, but apart from your grace I cannot follow through. Help me, Lord, every day to seek first your kingdom. Amen.

With Love,


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