Legalism likes to look good. It has too. No one is going to believe you are better than them if you don’t look the part.
And to be honest I’ve struggled with whether or not this whole suit thing wasn’t just some twisted practice of legalism. After all I do look good…
Actually, there have been some struggles and doubts in mind at different points in this process. I’ve chosen one piece of the Old Testament law, which wasn’t even given for non-Jewish people, and decided to take it on; but only after giving it my own modern make over. This could seem a little presumptuous. But I tell myself it’s ok, after all it’s for Jesus. Yes, for Jesus, the one who said not to do good works to be seen by others (Matt. 6:1 paraphrase).
So, has this just been some showy parade of legalism which God has despised? I hope not. Truthfully, I don’t believe it has. Here is why.
Legalism and showy spiritual living are really issues of the heart. They are expressions of a deeper issue. They speak of a heart that is depending on itself, the approval of others, or both to find its worth and justify its existence. Here we must make others feel less in order to make ourselves feel bigger, better, or valued.
But that doesn’t mean every expression of religious practice is guided by these messed up desires. Legalism likes to look good, but just looking good doesn’t make it legalistic. If it did every person who has ever been known as Godly, Christian, or moral would be in trouble. While we don’t do acts of service to be seen it doesn’t mean no one can ever see our acts of service. In fact Jesus said his followers would be known by our fruits, and fruit shows. The question becomes, is what’s showing trying to impress others or bring me closer to God? With the suits I know it has been the latter.
How often do we look at our motives in things though? Could it be some of what we consider the best things we do are done for the wrong reasons? What does that mean for us?