I was a legalist and I didn’t know it. As a member of Generation Z, I learned to expect instant results at an early age. I’m not alone. Online shopping empires and on-demand streaming platforms owe their existence to consumers’ failure to delay gratification. In a world where every heart’s desire is just a tap away on our smartphones, waiting on the Lord and listening for His often still, small voice feels difficult, impossible, and even spiritually suffocating. Unwittingly, we try to force God’s hand by “doing better”. For me, this looked like reading the Bible every day, praying more, and attending church regularly. Don’t misunderstand. Spiritual disciplines are essential tools for a healthy relationship with Jesus. But, God is not a vending machine. Performing good deeds and demanding blessings from the Lord in exchange is a classic example of legalism. As Christians, we must trust our Lord’s endless love for sinners, instead of seeking his favor through religious devotion.

It is easy to rely on our own strength instead of waiting on the Lord. After all, waiting on the Lord can be nerve-racking. In 1 Samuel 14, King Saul knew this better than anyone. Surrounded by thousands of Philistines, Israel’s army faced annihilation. Stagnant and fearful, the king camped beneath a pomegranate tree; its fruit was depicted on the robes of the high priest, who stood beside him. A pomegranate was thought to possess 613 seeds. The woven pomegranates on the Levite vestments represented the 613 statutes contained in the Law of Moses. Therefore, King Saul is trusting in the Law and the symbols of Yahweh’s promise, rather than in the God who makes and keeps promises.

We are like Saul. Not that we are all legalists, obeying only the letter of the law, missing the love-centered intent behind it. Remember those spiritual disciplines I mentioned earlier? Well, I would neglect my Bible, prayer, and church attendance—unless I needed God to act. Understanding two truths changed my perspective. First, God has already acted. It is finished. Jesus’ death and resurrection secure our destiny. Secondly, Jesus wants our hearts. Obedience without love is worthless. A biblically faithful life is a thankful offering, a gift of love to Him who first loved us. External devotion only produces resentment in an already anxious heart. Pomegranate faith always fails. Let us wait on Christ with expectation. Victory is certain. His kingdom is unshakeable. His promises are true.

Jake Solis

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