For when I tried to keep the law it condemned me. So I died to the law – I stopped trying to meet all its requirements – so that I might live for God. (Galatians 2:19, NLT)
It stopped me in my tracks, that one little part in a paraphrase of Galatians 2:19 that said, “I stopped trying to meet all it’s requirements.”
Have you ever had that problem – the “I have to meet all the requirements” problem?
I’m not sure about you, but at times in my life (well in all honesty – most of my life) I created a lot of expectations. I thought things should be a certain way. I expected myself (and often others around me) to do, to be, and to act certain ways. My expectations morphed into a list of requirements inside my mind that I felt I had to complete or follow. The requirements I had of myself, combined with my desire to be what I thought other people expected of me, created pressure within, pressure I put on myself to do more and be more than I was really capable of.
It’s like that if you are dealing with perfectionism. It’s pretty much a vicious cycle.
This verse reminds me of that cycle I had in my life. Deep down inside I had a distorted way of thinking about a self imposed list of requirements that I didn’t even realize I had written on my heart. This system of negative thinking that waged war against the peace I really desired. Over the years I’ve seen myself develop this kind of thinking in almost every area of my life – jobs, marriage, raising children, relationships. You name it, it’s got the requirements list.
And although I speak in the past tense, I still struggle with this and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. It’s this list of requirements or “laws” so to speak that get us into big trouble because it causes us to miss a most precious gift.
This struggle we are dealing with is a spiritual battle of the mind that touches many women and it’s something that needs our full attention.This struggle is a spiritual battle of the mind that touches many women, and it needs our full attention! Click To Tweet
So what precious thing are we missing, and what answer lies inside this verse that will help us deal with the laws and requirements we tend to create for ourselves? Even more so, what can help us in the battleground of our minds where the enemy is on a mission to magnify and distort our thoughts into lies for us to believe?
Galatians 2:19 has a key answer but first let’s look at a little background.
This verse, of course, is not actually talking about those “laws” I create for myself, but instead is referring to the old testament law of sacrifice. Paul is the author of this letter and he is writing to the Galatian church. The people there were being pressured to go back under Old Testament law. Some leaders in the church were insisting that Jesus was not enough for salvation. In effect, they were creating “add-ons” to the gospel message. They taught that Jesus died for us, but that a person also had to follow all the Old Testament sacrificial laws to be a good Christian. That, in effect, set aside the grace that Jesus came so willingly to give us.
Paul responded to these teachers with these words in Galatains 2:19-21
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 now 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!” (Galatians 2:19-21, NKJV)
Paul says, “I died to the law so that I might live for God,”…”I do not set aside the grace of God”……”for if righteousness could be obtained by following the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Could it be that the “laws” I create in my own mind, my self-imposed requirements and expectations, hinder me from following God and from knowing Him fully? If I died to them, could I live better for God?
Am I setting aside a most beautiful and precious gift when I continue to live trapped in a cycle caused by trying follow my own requirements rather than God’s?
Having expectations, goals and inner requirements is not necessarily bad if we have the right focus. However, our expectations or requirements can become a sin in our lives if we let those things become more important than following God’s requirements.
When we set aside God’s desires in order to focus on our own desires and requirements, we are setting ourselves up for trouble. Instead of following our own expectations or “laws,” we should find ourselves freed by His grace. That grace is our precious gift, and one that we often set aside without realizing it.That grace is our precious gift, and one that we often set aside without realizing it. Click To Tweet
Paul tells us in Colossians 2:14 that Jesus, on the cross, cancelled our debts. He took away the need to follow the old laws of animal sacrifice and instead He became the final sacrifice. He took our sins and those things that condemned us and nailed them to the cross so that we no longer have to live under the former laws. We no longer have to meet those expectations.
And that, sisters, is the key. Remember our conversation from last week? Sin has no dominion over us. (Romans 6:14) This is how we win in the battleground of the mind. We remember God’s word. We rely on it and believe the truth of God.
Colossians 2:14 paints such a vivid picture of the defining moment in that battle – the instant Jesus nailed our sin to that cross. Because of that there is no condemnation and we are offered the invaluable and precious gift of salvation by grace.
…having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:14
It’s so true, when I am holding onto my own expectations and my own way of thinking, I can not live for Christ. When I am trying to meet requirements I have made up, I can not be who God created me to be. If I am trying to meet someone else’s requirements, again, I am not being who God created me to be. Instead, I am only being what I think that person wants me to be. We can’t live like that and also live our best life for God.
God created us with a beautiful individuality and He wants us to let that shine. We can’t live to our full God given potential if we are not being our true selves, and we find our true selves within a relationship with Jesus.
What if we could take all of our “laws” and nail them to the cross? What if we refused to set aside the grace of God?
Because of God’s grace and Jesus’ sacrifice we can find the strength to break our self imposed requirements or “laws” and let them go! There is more strength to be discovered in the grace of God than we could ever find in trying to follow a law we have already been freed from. We are not bound by our own unrealistic requirements and expectations. If we can let go of them we can find that we are following Him into a much more spacious place in our lives.There is more strength to be discovered in the grace of God than we could ever find in trying to follow a law we have already been freed from. Click To Tweet
So let’s go! We’ll run that race together and I’ll meet you at the finish line! : )
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14
*If you click on any of the verse references in this article you will be taken to Bible Hub where you will find many free resources that will help you study the verse in more depth.
Romans 6:14 and Galatains 2:19 are really good verses to hold onto when we are trying to break away from from bad ways of thinking. Do you have other verses that help you with letting go? I would love to read your verses and you can leave them in the comment box below!
Join me as we answer this question, “What does God really require of us anyway?”
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