When Rob Rufus was closing his main session at "Together on a Mission 2006", he brought a very graphic illustration of the difference between grace and legalism and the results that grace and legalism bring in our Christian life. It was side-splittingly funny because he acted it out very enthusiastically but it also carried a weighty message.
Here is the clip;
How many of us can testify to the truth of that? Don't you feel - like me - sometimes that the Christian life is such hard work? That the so-called "spiritual disciplines" are just a burden that just cannot be carried, and yet we feel obliged to? Don't you feel sometimes that you wish you could scream at everyone in church to drop the masks and stop smiling toothily and telling everyone that life is "fine" when you can't stop hurting?
The wonder of true grace is that you CAN stop trying and you CAN stop striving. Grace is represented in the Old Testament as cool linen that the priests wore on their inner garments. Linen doesn't make you sweat or itch - it is comfortable and wonderful to wear. "Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh". Such ease! John Piper speaks about "dancing away from temptation". No longer will we have to whip ourselves metaphorically and bemoan a fight that we will never win or see over.
Grace - true grace - has come in the wonderful work of Jesus Christ and the outpoured Holy Spirit!