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The What Commandments?

The What Commandments?

Whether it’s to remember, prioritize, or focus us on what’s important, we humans love to make to-do lists to divide and conquer the elements of life. These lists often separate the must-do checkmarks from the things that are just optional. Your grocery list, for example, usually is a list of the items you must have to successfully run your home and feed yourself. It’s when you stray from your list and add items, or by essence break the list’s rules, that you suffer negative effects. Have you ever thought about where this to-do list concept originated?

The Ultimate To-Do List: The 10 Commandments

The first documented to-do list is by far the most important, universal, timeless, and of dire need to accomplish – The Ten Commandments. These are the rules that God has provided to help us remember, prioritize, and focus our deeds toward spirituality. When we don’t follow them, we suffer negative effects.

Sadly, The Ten Commandments is a must-do, to-do list that often falls by the wayside to worldly lists. In today’s society of political correctness and using social norms as a justification tool, we often try to tell ourselves that these commandments just aren’t applicable today or do not apply to ‘modern sins.’ And, since many sins can now be committed virtually with little more than a few keystrokes, we aren’t even viewing sin as sin sometimes.

Why The Ten Commandments Still Apply Centuries Later?

Jesus clearly stated in Matthew 5:17-18:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” In other words, God’s commandments were applicable then, now, and all the tomorrows to come.”

“Until heaven and earth disappear” it’s as straightforward as possible. God’s laws for us apply today just as they did yesterday and will for all the tomorrows of this earth.

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

Clearly, straying from your grocery to-do list can lead to a number of tangible and immediate consequences, such as breaking your budget, health losses, and weight gains. The immediate visibility of these consequences usually keep us adherent. But, because the consequences of straying from our spiritual to-do list are not always immediate cause and effects, we often fail to remember its importance as a means to divide and conquer sin.

Use The Ten Commandments To Divide And Conquer Sin

1. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5).

God has asked of you to hold nothing higher and to fully give yourself to Him. Such requires a deep, devotional relationship with God through prayer. It should be one where you seek him above all others in both good and bad times.

If you think about it… God has given you the tool to prioritize your entire life in this first commandment. By putting God first in every thought and deed, everything else falls into an orderly, rightly place.

When we allow naysayers and those with beliefs contrary to Christianity to cause us to doubt God in our hearts, minds, and souls, then we break the first commandment. There are people who believe all sorts gods exist and will try to persuade you to either affirm their beliefs or believe as they do. As a pacifist society, we tend to hide the might of our words in order to be accepted, liked. But, by not using our words and actions to affirm our beliefs, we are not loving God with all our might.

Keep in mind that love is a verb – an action. I can say that I love you, but if I deny your importance to others or have non-loving actions that aren’t congruent with my loving words, then would I really be loving you?

2. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them” (Exodus 20:4–5).

The second commandment isn’t just about the graven statues of gold and mythology that our ancestors falsely worshiped. Anything that you honor, prize, or prioritize over God is a graven image – your job, home finances, possessions, philosophy, hobbies, peers, and even yourself.

The world is more vain, narcissistic, and self-indulgent than ever. A simple scroll through social media shows that we too frequently idolize ourselves and our possessions to the point that many are willing to alter their bodies, break various other commandments, degrade others, and die before appearing less than “perfect.” But, by recognizing and worshiping the single almighty power of God, we gain perspective that He is the only perfect being and we are but the vast individual grains of sand to the ocean’s body of water.

3. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain”

How many shows and movies do you watch where the Lord’s name is used in a profane way? It’s a happening that society is almost desensitized from even recognizing. By supporting it on air and standing silent in person, we are complicit in the language. Be an example that His name is only to be used in reverence and respect.

Profanity is not the only way the Lord’s name can be taken in vain, or misused. After baptism, you’ve taken upon yourself His name. You’ve professed to be a Christian and to strive to do nothing that would dishonor God. If this vow isn’t upheld, if our following deeds do not match our baptismal profession, then we have taken upon ourselves his name in vain. If we use God to justify our misdeeds, then we’ve taken his name in vain.

4. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God” (Exodus 20:8–10).

Of the seven days, God has only demanded one be used for worship and rest. It’s the clarity opportunity we need to depart from all worldly pursuits to focus on our pursuit of spirituality.

We live in an age of 24/7 connectivity through smart devices, computers, and abundant and quick transportation. It enables us to stay focused on our jobs and social lives at all times. Look around your congregation at how many have their minds and eyes on a phone between the pages of the hymnal instead of on their church service. How many then leave their service to shop, play, surf social media, or work instead of connect with God through rest, prayer, and study.

Research actually shows that seven-day workweeks are associated with mental and physical health issues. A non-religious publication in Scientific America looked at innumerable studies about the brain’s need for downtime and found that periods of rest from worldly demands of life are mandatory for attention, motivation, productivity, introspection, creativity, memory, identify affirmation, and creating an internal code of ethics. But, science is only telling us what the fourth commandment has long ago directed us to do – take a day of rest.

5. “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12).

While the first four commandments are to-do lists on how to love and honor God, the fifth commandment begins to guide us on how to love and honor others, including our Heavenly Father.

The internet and the need for many parents to both work or work multiple jobs, means that children are left to their own devices, literally, a lot. It makes it’s easier than ever for children to disobey and disrespect their parent’s instructions. A child can make a few taps on a smartphone or computer and be in a virtual world of sin and danger. Parental guidance and children respecting it has never been more important.

In Matthew 15:3-6, we are instructed to carry on this honor of our parents, meaning that it’s our responsibility to care for them as they did us in old age. How often do we see parents abandoned in old age as we are off living our own lives for ourselves? On the other hand, how often do we see children disrespect their parent’s end of life wishes, for such as life support?

Obedience to parents in of itself is a childhood life lesson that will follow throughout adulthood. Respect for and obedience to authority is necessary for a functioning society throughout every phase of every lifecycle. Submission to authority will be necessary for success in everything from school and church to employment, relationships, and parenthood. It’s a necessary learning curve to develop personal safety limits, social boundaries, and healthy concepts of family culture, and it all begins with following parental authority during childhood.

However, where much has been given, much is asked. Parents are likewise instructed to use this authority for good in Ephesians 6:4: “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord”

6. “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13).

Clearly, God values all the lives he has created. With the exception of defense and dire circumstances, the Bible repeatedly instructs us not to take life. Killing not only takes from God. It also takes from your fellowman, whether that be directly his life or the effects his absence has on those around him, such as a fatherless child being orphaned. With that life, you take all the support and good it could’ve accomplished.

Yet, we live in a society where human life is valued less and less by the day. We see violence and fail to respond; sometimes we even become cheering spectators. We let our own angers fester and become of greater importance than God or life. We justify indirect killing, such as abortions, by scientific timestamps verses the word of God himself. We overwork and undervalue employees, slowly killing their health and wellbeing.

“Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). Hate is the great predecessor to murder.

In James 3:5-8, we are also shown that our tongues can be deadly poisons. Bullying is a perfect example. How many children take their own lives because of the defamation they suffer from their peers?

And, in Matthew 5:43-45, we are told the alternative path to killing; we are to pray for those who persecute and use us and allow God to be their judge.

7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery”(Exodus 20:14).

Faithfulness was one of the first instructions given to the first couple on earth. Adultry is mentioned over 50 times in the Bible, and with good reason. Commitment is essential to a healthy, strong, spiritual marital relationship, but it’s also essential to the entire family unit. Children from broken homes are statistically more apt to be high school drop outs, resort to criminal behaviors, become sexually promiscuous, and engage in substance and alcohol abuse. Infidelity has a widespread collateral effect.

Many with modernistic codes of marital conduct only view adultery in terms of sexual intercourse, meaning that having a sexual conversation with a stranger online is harmless. But, this isn’t what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:27-28:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Long, close-contact work hours often blur the lines between a friendly, professional relationship and one that’s lustful for emotional, physical, or mental support that’s a spouses only to give. Lustful thoughts lead to lustful actions.

Likewise, the internet is full of married dating sites, polyamory sites, pornographic sites, and such that are not only spiritually degrading, but are destructive to marriages.

8. “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15).

This commandment goes beyond the taking of physical property. Anything you gain dishonestly is stealing, whether that be intellectual property a friend shares with you or your employer’s time by not clocking out properly. And, again, the digital age makes it ever so easy to take from others from behind the anonymity of a screen – from plagiarizing online content to hacking a credit card company. The action is still the same. You’re taking what isn’t rightfully yours and harming your fellowman.

9. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16).

The essence of this to-do checkmark is not to lie and to do no harm. From Big Foot ate my homework and rumors and gossip to wrongfully suing someone, the commonplace of lying in society would put Pinocchio’s nose on its trillionth trip to the moon by now.

Lies, rumors, gossip, defamation, slander… they all do great harm to others and have significant secondhand repercussions. A simple rumor being spread, for example, can destroy a marriage or lose a job. And, the victim, may turn away from the liar’s environment, even if that’s a church one, which would mean that this little rumor just deterred someone’s spirituality.

In today’s world of social media, rumors, lies, and such can spread at the speed of lightening. Once shared and shared some more, these bits of information become permanent record for all to see and assumed to be fact.

10. “Thou shalt not covet . . . anything that is thy neighbour’s” (Exodus 20:17).

This doesn’t mean that you can’t save and work hard because you like your neighbor’s camper. Simply put, you just shouldn’t make worldly items your priority. If your focus is on your spirituality, you will not covet what your neighbor has in worldly possessions because we all have the exact same spiritual possessions – flesh, bones, and soul to love our Heavenly Father.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for [God] hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

We are promised that God will always provide what we need and will never forsake us. That’s a huge promise that should provide peace and comfort and soothe jealousy, contempt, pride, and covetous feelings.

In closing, when we neglect to check off just one of these to-do commandments away from sin, we often resort to negating them all as unimportant, not applicable. For example, when we covet what others have, it creates a toxic mindset that may lead us to resort to stealing to get an item, adultery to gain a lover, idolizing secular viewpoints to make employment gains, and so forth and so on. Each of God’s 10 commandments are not only applicable in today’s world, no, they’re absolutely more imperative than ever to follow.

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