This is just a short post (I may say more about this subject later), but I think that it is something important that we need to keep in our minds as we follow Christ.
Here is the deal... It is soooo important that we follow the laws and principles given in the Bible. If we are Christians I believe that we will naturally want to follow God's law. The FRUIT of the Spirit is what will come when the Spirit is in us.
But I look around and I see that people take general principles from the Bible and turn them into specific rules that are very oppressive, and then they will treat people that don't follow their specific rules as if they are not Christians or are in rebellion against God.
It is nearly impossible to be friends with people that are insistent that the people they know must follow THEIR rules or else they're not acceptable or not Christians.
But what since we are following Jesus, and since He is the only One that is perfect, we must look at what He says in Matthew 11:28-30
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
When we come to Him because we are 'heavy laden', He doesn't heap on more and more weight. His burden is easy and His burden is light.
Please don't hear me saying that we don't need to follow the Bible. WE NEED TO FOLLOW THE LAWS OF GOD. But if we are weighting others down with OUR rules than that is a problem.
If you feel yourself weighted down, depressed, or feeling trapped, think about whether you are actually under the Lord's yoke or your own. Remember, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (emphasis added)
So please think about it. If you have a friend that is under the oppression of man-made laws and rules, than pray for their release and show them the love of Christ. If you find that you have been being legalistic (I know, that is a very over-used word) than confess it to the Lord and pray that He will give you the joy and the love that is supposed to make us stand out from others. :-)