In Galatians 2:11-21NIV it says;
When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the Gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?” We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. “If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
In this passage of scripture the Apostle Paul opposed Peter because Peter began to veer away from the true and important message of the Gospel that through accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior, and because of His death and resurrection on the cross we are redeemed from the curse of the law and made right with God. Peter along with a few of the other disciples began to get off track for a time in their message; and they began teaching justification through the law, circumcision, and the Ten Commandments. This teaching was taking away from the purpose of Christ’s death on the cross. If as human beings we are made right through our works and striving, then why was it necessary for Jesus Christ to die?
It was because of Christ’s death and resurrection that you were set free from the bondage and the yoke of legalism and works; and it is only through your acceptance of Him and belief in Him that you can find peace of mind, freedom, and true liberty in your life. The Ten Commandments are an important part of the Word of God; and they are given from God as a guide of morality and a code of conduct to live by and follow. However, there is not one person on the planet, except Jesus Christ, that ever has or ever will meet every criteria displayed in the scriptures. The Bible says; “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV). Jesus is the Christ and the Messiah. Therefore, He walked a life without blemish during His time on earth. He died and rose again that you might find reconciliation with God and be forgiven of your sins. You should desire excellence and live a life pleasing to God; but know that your justification and your approval come from Christ and Christ alone. For you are made right before your Creator through your salvation in Jesus Christ.
As you walk by the Spirit, you will find liberty and freedom. The Bible says; Take My yoke upon you. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30 NIV). It is not about how often you read your Bible, how many times you attend church, or how many scriptures you have memorized. It is about your obedience to Christ in doing these things and your obedience and response to His Spirit in your life. Everyday you should wake up and say; “Lord, what would You have me do today? How would You have me live today? What can I do to obey Your Spirit today?”
There is a story about a man whom the Lord came to and said; “Everyday I would like you to get up and make your bed.” The man thought to himself; “If making my own bed will please God, how much more will it please Him if I make everyone’s bed in the entire neighborhood?” So the man awoke the next day, neglecting to make his own bed, but setting out to make everyone else’s instead. When he was all done, he returned home and looking up to the Lord said; “Aren’t you proud and happy with me Lord? I made everyone’s bed in the entire neighborhood.” And the Lord replied; “I did not ask you to make everyone else’s bed. I simply asked you to make your own, and you disobeyed me in this.”
This story is depicting how important your obedience is in your walk with Christ. This man thought that he could please God through his works and his sacrifice. This is how many people believe today. Individuals get caught up in their legalistic ways, and they forget that their obedience to the Holy Spirit in their daily lives is what pleases Him most. The Bible says that “To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22 NIV). It is in your obedience and cooperation with Him that you move the heart of God. An example of this is found in the scriptures. In Luke 10:38-42 NLT it says; As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what He taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to You that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Martha was angry with Mary because Mary was not helping her with the cooking and the chores. Mary was sitting at the Lord’s feet. She was before her Lord, spending time with Him, and honoring Him in her obedience to be still and to listen. Many times people are running around in life and spinning their wheels, thinking that they are pleasing God, when in actuality they are not.
Today, I encourage you to be still before the Lord. I encourage you to let go of the burdens and the cares upon your shoulders. To let loose of the legalism, bondage, and works that bind you. I encourage you to listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit within you, and to obey what He is speaking to your heart. You don’t have to strive any longer. Jesus loves you as you are. He is willing to meet you right where you are at. Take His hand and allow Him to transform and rejuvenate your life.
You can start by praying this prayer aloud to Him;
Dear Lord Jesus,
I take Your yoke upon me, for Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light. I ask that You would forgive me of my sins and wash me clean with Your blood. I repent for striving in legalism and works and for not obeying Your voice and leadership in my life. I release my own ways, will, and agenda; and I receive Your will, ways, and purpose for my life. I ask that You would be the head of my life; and lead, guide, and direct me into all that You have for me. I ask that You would fill me with Your presence and that You would transform me from the inside out. I give You my life King Jesus, and I thank You for all these things.
In Jesus Mighty Name I Pray,