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Legalism

Nothing can choke the heart and soul out of walking with God like legalism. Rigidity is the most certain sign that the Disciplines have spoiled. The disciplined person is the person who can live appropriately in life.

Consider the story of Hans the tailor. Because of his reputation, an influential entrepreneur visiting the city ordered a tailor-made suit. But when he came to pick up his suit, the customer found that one sleeve twisted that way and the other this way; one shoulder bulged out and the other caved in. He pulled and managed to make his body fit.

As he returned home on the bus, another passenger noticed his odd appearance and asked if Hans the tailor had made the suit. Receiving an affirmative reply, the man remarked, “Amazing! I knew that Hans was a good tailor, but I had no idea he could make a suit fit so perfectly someone as deformed as you.”

Often that is just what we do in the church. We get some idea of what the Christian faith should look like: then we push and shove people in to the most grotesque configurations until they fit wonderfully! That is death. It is a wooden legalism which destroys the soul.

- Richard J. Foster

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