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One of the significant problems with legalism is the self-deception that says, “I have arrived.”  Legalism counts on self-righteousness for standing with God.  The prophet Isaiah made it very clear that our own righteousness is “filthy rags.”  We need an alien righteousness for standing with God and He is willing to give us HIS righteousness if we will receive it by faith.  While it is marvelous to know we have standing with God, it can be a little disconcerting once we see ourselves in the light of His holiness.  We’ll have to say, “Okay, I’m not perfect!”  If we really want to live up to who God designed us to be, we’re going to have to recognize and move on from our failures and sins.  This can lead to a groveling form of self-denial that is unhealthy for the life that God has made available to us.  (We’ll see this soon in Colossians 2).  While self-denial is necessary as a follower of Christ, there are forms of asceticism that are not in keeping with His gift of life.  I like what Mr. Weirsbe wrote, “Some Christians are so busy dying to self that they never come back to life and run the race.”  God’s intent is not that we keep dying, it is that we might have life!  The end for the believer is not more death; the desire of God is that we might have more life!  We are to recognize that in Christ we are dead to sin and we are alive to God.  Our lacking perfection is a given.  But, let’s remember who we are in Christ and what we have in Him.  This will help us lay ahold of what we have been laid ahold of for smiley.