In his book, Disciplines of a Godly Man, R. Kent Hughes discusses the difference between legalism and discipline. He says the major difference between the two is motivation.

Legalism is self-centered; discipline is God-centered. The legalistic heart says, “I will do this thing to gain merit with God.” The disciplined heart says, “I will do this thing because I love God and want to please Him.”

In the American culture we struggle with legalism. However, I’m not sure that our legalism is to gain merit with God much anymore. It seems now that our legalistic heart is more about impressing others. In the “Christian” culture, we often do things that are “godly” to gain influence with people. Life becomes about the pursuit of us.

It was a great reminder for me – discipline is about pursuing God in an attitude that says, “I want to love and please you, Lord.” No matter what the cost. No matter how often I fail. No matter how long it takes. It – is – all – about – YOU.

Are you self-centered or God-centered? Ask God to replace your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Then, pursue Him will all that you have!

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