Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body; it calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things. – Winston Churchill, New Statesmen Interview, January 7, 1939
I heard about a guy who is a musician by passion and a music teacher by trade. One day I was sitting in his foyer when a student came in for lessons. Minutes later, I heard a few notes of melody followed by a horrific noise. A few more notes and another horrific noise.
I got up to peek around the corner and see what was going on. Sure enough, every time the student struck a wrong note, my musician friend would imitate the sound of a buzzer.
BZZZZ! Wrong! BZZZZ! Wrong! BZZZZ! Wrong!
Living the law is like living beneath a buzzer all the time. All those rules. All the effort. All the paranoia. And before we know it, we’re not even ourselves anymore.
Eventually, living under the law demands we live in hiding. We can’t let anyone see how messy we are – and as a result, we become pretenders on the outside. “Oh yeah, I’m just great.” “The Lord spoke to me 50 different ways this week, once for each time I prayed!” “After I complete these Sabbath duties, I’m going to calculate my volunteer hours this month!”
But inside we know better, don’t we? The rules criticize us daily and we know we’re failing.
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. (Romans 3:20)
Please understand, the law’s job is to make you conscious of your sin. And that’s a good thing. But today when you hear the buzzer, you have a choice: You can stay enslaved – marching beneath the buzzer. Or you can seek out an alternative – freedom in grace, for ... "all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:24)
Please, let this truth soak into your dry and weary soul today: You are accepted – failures and all – through Jesus. May that nagging failure always drive you toward grace.
Lord, thank You, thank You that I no longer try to earn my keep in eternity. I don’t need to hide my inadequacies. I want to give what I’ve been given. Lord, show me where I’m guilty of nagging – of being that buzzer in the lives of others. Teach me to speak the life that comes from Your free grace. Amen.