By Grant Hawley
It breaks my heart to see Christians in bondage to legalism and all the guilt and shame that come with it. Too many dear brothers and sisters are too concerned with questions like "is it OK to do _________" where _________ has nothing to do with spiritual living at all. Sadly, this is usually the ones who desire most to live holy lives.
For God's sake, and for your own sake as well, stop beating yourself up. The Lord wants you to live in freedom.
Take your mind off of what you can and can't do, and fix your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. That's the only way to bring the flesh into subjection to God and His holy standard.
Thus saith the Lord:
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." Gal 5:1
"...where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" 2 Cor 3:17
"Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations? 'Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,' which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, [self-imposed] humility, and [self-imposed] neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh." (Col 2:20-23)
There is no life to be found down the path of legalism, the only thing down there is self-imposed failure (see also Romans 7). Come this way. Take the path of freedom and enjoy God-imposed victory, won for you in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are all kinds of pressures that will come at you to try to deceive you and take you into bondage to legalism. Don't give in. Stand fast, strong in the Lord (by faith, not by human might), resisting the relentless assault of the enemy of freedom. And encourage your brothers and sisters to do the same.