When we’re overwhelmed by habitual and recurring sin, it’s tempting to create a strict set of rules to keep us in line. We write a signed and dated vow or we establish schedules to squeeze out room for sin. But legalism always seems to fail us. Soon we fall right back into old patterns. Colossians 2:20-23 says:
“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations…these have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”
Only God can bring true and lasting change, because only God can change the our hearts. Jesus does what legalism can never do: he gives us a new heart and a new spirit.