Legalism wrenches the joy of the Lord from the Christian believer... — S. Lewis Johnson, “The Paralysis of Legalism”

Dancing would be a whole lot easier if someone would just show us all how to exactly move our bodies. Then we’d all be dancing the same dance; and if I felt like I was messing up, I could look over and compare my dance steps to yours. And if I felt like you were messing up, then I could dance over there and tell you.

Wait a minute.

That sounds a lot like marching—like living by the law.

Let me tell you what happens when you, your family, and your church family all start dancing: Your walk with Jesus starts looking different than theirs. The Holy Spirit knows each of us intimately and leads us according to our gifts, our design, and even our weaknesses.

But there are general characteristics that all dancers will display.

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. (Galatians 6:14-15)

  • Dancers boast in the cross.
  • Dancers die to the world and its influence.
  • Dancers embrace the new creation.

The contrast is not always obvious, but it’s profound:

  • Marchers boast in their own accomplishments, but dancers know life begins at the cross.
  • Marchers battle sin on their own, but dancers die to the world and let the Spirit live through them.
  • Marchers use the law as a checklist for living, but dancers embrace the new creation that is the Christian life—new nature, new desires, and new habits.
  • The marcher’s melody is law, but the dancer’s movements are grace-filled. 

So if you’re afraid of looking different in the dance, then I want to reassure you—you’ll look totally different. We each need grace for different things in our lives. Sure, we are dancing in the same Spirit, but our dances are individually choreographed. He will lead you differently. Step onto the dance floor and experience the adventure.

Lord of the Dance, as I dance with You, I realize that You lead intimately—knowing my personality, struggles, desires, and talents. Fill my line of vision so I stop copying the steps of others and let You lead me into the adventurous, abundant life in the Spirit. Amen.