While on campus with one of my staff last week, we met with a very warm, bright student who had an earnest desire to please the Lord. The more she talked, the more times I heard her saying, "Should, should, should," i.e. "I should pray more," "I should memorize Bible verses," "They should do this or that."
Thanks to my Grace Life class, my "grace ears" are hyper-sensitive, and my heart began to break as I saw how driven she was by rules and a desire to get it right for Jesus. And that is when the Lord broke through. I mentioned that I heard all her should's and wondered how she was doing keeping them, and she admitted that she wasn't doing very well. Her eyes brightened as we began to talk about the grace of the Lord and how all those little laws she was trying to keep were producing death inside.
And she began to ask more questions, like, "So how do I stop keeping laws?" and "What can I do to stop living under 'should's'," and each time she asked something like that, she would realize that once again she was trying to figure out how to do it. It was precious because those are the exact questions that grace draws out in the face of law, and the only advice I could tell her was to point her to John 15, Jesus' discourse on the vine and branches. It is risky to live by the Spirit, learning to abide in Christ and let the Lord lead, and to realize that if we never do another thing we are perfectly loved and accepted.
I am hopeful for her, that the Lord will continue to reveal His life in her and the ways that she trusts other things, and it was so wonderful to see grace begin to snap the cords of the law.