Greg Cryer

Meet Greg Cryer.

My name is Greg Cryer, and God has recently showed me that I chose, and sometimes still choose, legalism.

A simple definition of legalism is the belief that we can make ourselves acceptable to God by our good works. I often believed, in my pride, there was a way I could be good enough to earn God’s favor. When I fell short, I believed I could feel bad enough to earn God’s favor. I carried a lot of guilt in my teenage years with a constant feeling of not measuring up to God’s standard. But, Why?

Performance-based acceptance is the way of the world. I gained the favor of my teachers by performing. I lost favor from my coaches in sports by underperforming. This pattern was present in so many relationships all around me. As a result, I learned to play to my strengths, avoid my weaknesses and give people what they want. It worked. By so many measures, a performance-based value system works. It is emotionally exhausting, but it achieves results.
During my early college years, I began to realize my view of God was not the God of grace. I always believed I was saved. But, I did not believe I was loved by Him if I was not performing. I spent the next 7 years of my life wrestling with God. Through it all, I was told by God in so many different ways, that He loved me because I was His child. I had a new identity in Christ. Sin and mistakes were still weighty, but I came to understand they no longer defined me and forgiveness was granted at the asking. I tasted what it means to be free in Christ. I could do things for God to say thank you for His love, instead of working to earn His love. I discovered that there is no better place to be than in the middle of His will.

What God most recently showed me is the appeal of legalism. Legalism gives me something to do; puts me in control. It requires little faith. Though there are many reasons why I believed lies about my value and identity, I chose legalism. I wanted it. I chased it. Thanks to Holy Spirit, I gave up. Legalism chokes us. It steals our ability to discover our identity and our giftings. From an eternal perspective, it absolutely does not work. It is not the life He wants for us. I continue to grow in this truth. I continue to learn to embrace this freedom and fight the temptation to choose legalism over grace. 
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