Discipline or Legalism?

So you are told to read your Bible and pray every day. Is that legalism or spiritual discipline?

I guess if you really view the Bible as the Living Word of God then this conversation is invalid. You would not only read it everyday you would meditate on it, memorize it, and absorb it in any fashion you could. Because digesting it would be the same as hanging out with God in your living room or talking to Him face to face.

What seems to spur this religious argument is just that… religion.

To the religious, church attending Christian, reading the scripture becomes a task just like taking out the trash or brushing your teeth. How do you get to this point?

We find ourselves in the throws of religion when we elevate the practice of worship above the object of our worship.

–> When you separate the Living Word from the scriptures you end up with religion. It has the appearance of the faith minus the actual power behind it. It is an illusion, a mirage of Jesus. Religion is dead faith because it removes the Living Word, Jesus.

Eventually, you become use to powerless experiences and consider that the norm. This is quite possibly the most deceptive, destructive thing on earth. Because it gives people the false assurance that they know Jesus. It assures them hell, with the presumed comfort of blessed assurance.

In the Bible Belt south many claim Christ like they claim their AAA membership. It is something they have in case they break down or get into a moment of distress. When they actually meet Jesus face to face however, He will say ‘depart from me I never knew you’.


Because you have relegated knowing God to a list of actions. The reason God sent a Savior in the first place is because no amount of good actions would save you. It removes the saving agent of salvation, which is the Savior and a faith in Him alone, and places emphasis back on the works of the individual. Religion is trusting in Christian works for salvation, not Christ alone. But this religious action is different than discipline.

So is reading your Bible everyday a spiritual discipline or legalism?

Like being in any relationship, a relationship with Christ takes work. Even the best marriages require communication, every day. Where there is a lack of communication, there is break down. There is a discipline to keeping up our relationship with Christ just as there is with any relationship. You may not be ‘in love’ with God at that particular moment, you may actually be angry, upset or hurt. But… you have to talk it out.

The disciplines of the faith are actually fruit of your relationship with Christ. If you are in a loving, healthy relationship you want to be with that person. The same applies to our relationship with God.

Want to talk to God, hear from Him and be used by Him?

Spend time with Him everyday, and your relationship will grow. Focus less on others, more on Jesus and more on how much are you are becoming to truly resemble Him. The more time you spend with Him, you the more you become like Him.

It is called being a disciple.

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