I've come to the realization that I am the biggest legalist in my life.
I preach against it and know it's wrong. But the reason I hate it so much is because I hear it so much from myself or the accuser. I am quick to attack others and be cynical of them, wanting it to be their fault, when in reality it isn't. Of course people can make the situation worse by not preaching grace, but ultimately, it is within our own minds, not from the pulpit that we hear the most legalism.
As for me, I am very prone to constantly whipping myself mentally for being so worldly, selfish, proud and foolish. It's beating me down and every time it does, I receive a fresh revelation of grace and the offer of Jesus to again make the effort to rest. I can choose to go on, mentally smacking myself around for not doing something, saying something, thinking something. I hate legalism, yet I hold onto it out of fear. I am afraid to let go of allowing myself to be smacked around. What if I get worldly and sinful?
"O, afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires."
I know grace in my head. But it hasn't completely taken over perception of myself and Jesus. I am constantly pushed around mentally, always examining my actions.
I always feel Jesus is exasperated with me. I never see myself as someone yielded to God and bearing fruit. I never allow myself to think such things. Oh no. Grace seems to be for everyone else, but not for me.
I remind myself of the scarecrow, the tin-man and the cowardly lion all in one. While the scarecrow always thought he had no brain, he was the one who came up with a plan to rescue Dorothy from the witches castle. Tin-man always thought he was without a heart, yet he was the one crying when he started thinking about Dorothy in the witches castle. And lion thought he had no courage, yet he was willing to go into the castle and bring her out, risking his life. They all had what they didn't believe they had. They had it, they just lived in constant stubbornness and false humility of not believing it.
I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, yet I can believe otherwise and allow myself to be miserable.
The truth is I don't need rules anymore. I have the life of Jesus Christ. I quench the Holy Spirit by introducing Mr. Law back into my life. I have to let go and trust Jesus to control me by His love. Freedom. I'm always speaking against legalism but constantly allowing myself to be hammered with it. I am 139 pounds of contradictions.