Legalism has a way of creeping into every area of life including home management. It often wears different masks, but the heart is still the same: using our outward behavior as a means of righteousness and peace. If legalism has crept into your pursuit of home management you may find yourself using your cleanliness of house and finishing your to-do list as a source of peace and righteousness (all is right with me because I was able to perform up to my personal standards). Don’t get me wrong, there is very sweet peace that comes from obedience to God in whatever form it takes whether it be folding laundry or reading a book to your toddler. The test generally comes when you aren’t performing up to your standard. If your house is messy and to-do list incomplete, do you find yourself anxious and angry? When you lay your head on your pillow at night, do you rest in His righteousness alone, or are you factoring in how well you lived up to your own personal performance standards? You can also find legalism lurking behind the guilt and condemnation that keeps us from the hope-filled, godly conviction of sin. We stay living under a cloud of guilt because we just know that we should be performing better.
Whether your house is sparkling clean, or you need a catapult to get you from the front door to the kitchen isn’t necessarily an indication of keeping home to the glory of God. If legalism drives the train, a overly neat house could actually indicate wrong priorities. If the kids watched videos all day, you ignored conflict among the siblings, and are exhausted by the time your husband gets home, chances are your tidy home came at a price that shouldn’t have been paid. If legalism drives the train, a messy house can cause guilt and condemnation even if it’s messy because you were pursuing right priorities. Some days the house may be less orderly because the children were constantly interrupting, you weren’t feeling well, or maybe you spent the day picking apples or choosing pumpkins with the kids.
I am aware that this topic is full of land minds for people reading it. When I taught this last week, people listening got the “full teaching” all at once, not just the step by step I am doing on the blog. Please hang in there. Chances are I will address what you are scratching your head about. Also, leave comments so I can check the barometer with which this is being received. I would love input, and it’s fine if you want to leave it anonymously.