© Grace Enough Podcast2023
EP. 44: Rebekah Hargraves | Christian Legalism
Rebekah Hargraves is a wife, mama of two littles, blogger, podcaster, and author whose passion is to edify, equip, and encourage women in their journey of Biblical womanhood, particularly with an emphasis on the gospel and its implications for everyday life.
Rebekah’s first book, “Lies Moms Believe (And How the Gospel Refutes Them)” released the fall of 2017, and the “Lies Moms Believe” Companion Bible Study came out March 30, 2018.
Rebekah became co-founder and editor-in-chief of Spirit-Filled Woman Magazine in January 2019, and the magazine team’s new book on walking by the Spirit releases January 2020.
Rebekah and I chat about what her Christian life was like when it was legalistic driven vs. Bible and grace driven. We chat about reading Scripture in context and allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture. We also chat about some red flags of Christian legalism.
5:10 Legalism is heavily weaved through Rebekah’s story. She shares how she came to know Jesus and what her faith journey was like in its early years?
Situational ethics can be easy to fall into as a child or new believer.
“I took it personally that my parents were not on board…It was almost a security issue for me. I was basing my identity, my security, and who I was in these beliefs that I thought were thoroughly Biblical.”
11:54 Rebekah defines legalism as lived out in her early Christian journey
“I was a Pharisee…I would take something that may have been a principle…and I would add to it all sorts of additional requirements.”
14:47 Rebekah discusses what took place in her life that led her to begin addressing the legalistic Christian life she had been living?
It was the light of Christ in another girl whose clothes did not measure up to her idea of Biblical dress.
17:41 Rebekah shares a few of the beliefs she held that were legalistic driven vs. Bible driven
“I would ignore the passage about Deborah.”
“I got to the point where I would rather know what the whole cannon of Scripture said, and be willing to embrace all of it, and allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, and be open to whatever it said, and allow me then to have to be changed (which is painful, but it’s worth it).”
Examples like Huldah the prophetess
21:31 Rebekah shares how fear can often motivate legalism
“You have, maybe, a good intention, but you have become so afraid of doing something wrong, that you add all these extra parameters, all these extra barriers to keep you from that. Boundaries are good, but if you make those into law and force them on everybody else, act as if they’re what the Bible says, then you have trouble. It was a thing of fear, because I wanted to honor God, but I couldn’t just rest in what the Bible actually said believing that if God has not laid down a command in this area, apparently it’s okay for there to not be a command….I couldn’t rest in that. I had to add to it in order to feel okay, to feel better, to feel safe, and it became a thing where looking back on it, I thought I knew better than God.”
25:19 Rebekah encourages someone who may realize that are living out their Christian walk more legalistically than gracefully
Read the Bible in context
Don ‘t only read what Hannah Anderson refers to as the pink passages of Scripture (ex. Proverbs 31, Titus 2)
Compare different passages
“Reading the Word. Being in prayer. Believing that the Holy Spirit’s job is to lead you in to truth, to remind you of truth. As you are in the Word, He’s your helper….You have to really fight through certain passages and try to figure out what it is about, but you’ve got to believe that God gave you His Spirit to lead you through that. “
“We’ve got to be the Berean’s. Who readily listened. Who take in and consider it. They’re not unteachable, they listen, but they take everything their taught and everything they hear and compare it to the Word before they just automatically accept it.”
30:51 Rebekah shares more about reading God’s Word in context
Rebekah shares Jer. 29:11 as an example. It is important to read the verses before and after, because that verse is in the “context of the Israelites being told they’re going to be in captivity” for 70 years. If you read Jer. 29:12 you see, “It’s not a blanket promise of everything will be peachy for you. It’s if you’re walking with me, if you’re seeking me, if you’re living in light of my ways and what I have said….then, these things will come about. They will play out in such a way that even if bad stuff happens good will come from it..but you can’t just take that one verse and rip it out of it’s surrounding verses.”
“The word is alive and active and you may struggle with it one day, but it will be illuminated another day. The Spirit will reveal something you just did not see or understand before.”
36:26 Rebekah shares some things to help identify a legalistic church
“If you are in a community or a ministry or a church who is more interested in looking down their noses at other people; they’re more interested in appearing perfect than they are actually being the hands and feet of Christ and loving people and befriending people and eating dinner with people and meeting their needs that is definitively a red flag.”
“Legalism is not obedience from a heart of love for the Lord and what He’s done. It’s an obligation: I have to do this this, so you’re not going to be scowling down at me, so that You will maybe accept me…But obedience is, you are so grateful for the good news of the gospel, you’re so grateful for the love of God and what He did that you want to obey.”