Before we look at number 8 and 7 on God’s Top 10 list, jump forward 1400 years to Jesus. He bumped into the Ten Commandments a few times. Once He was asked by a group of Pharisees “What is the greatest commandment”? Jesus wisely pointed not to one of the Ten Commandments, but to a passage in Deuteronomy (6:5) that brings us back once again to the heart of it all. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” He didn’t stop there. “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40/Leviticus 19:18) The first four of the Ten Commandments can hang on Deuteronomy 6:5 – Love God; and the last six can hang on Leviticus 19:18 – Love your neighbor. Jesus was quick to pull out the mirror of the commandments with seekers around Him. The rich young ruler of Luke 18 was confronted by “you know the commandments…”, and Jesus left out five of the commandments He knew a rich man couldn’t possibly keep. The young ruler’s response revealed “his god,” and he went away sad – he and his stuff lost in the dust of history. So let’s go back to the mirror for a quick look at “The TOP 10 WAYS HUMANS MESS UP THE IMAGE OF GOD IN THEIR LIVES.”
“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
How often through the day do I mention God’s name and not mean it? You might find it interesting that filthy language in general, and bringing in the name of local gods or God in particular, is a world-wide phenomena. Why? Again, the Law (Ten Commandments) is a mirror that point out the universal flaws we humans possess. Jesus Himself said “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45). It’s no wonder that if the pollution resulting from Adam’s fall is a heart matter, then our mouth would also project the same condition. Ultimately, when we use the name of “Jesus” or “God” as an explicative, we are doing the OPPOSITE of worship – instead of exalting His Name and filling our world with praise. We are dragging His name into the mud and cursed condition of this fallen world, blaming God for our situation or immediate circumstance. Think of even the seemingly “harmless” ways we do this. “Sherry can’t find a dress for the dance, OMG, what am I going to do?” A simple text message that ultimately drags God into our court of blame for not being vain enough to impress others – absurd! But isn’t it truly an ugly ingrained convention of our language that SOOO shows a sinful and unbelieving heart. I’ll leave you some space to talk with the Holy Spirit about this one!
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
We mess up the image of God in our lives when we don’t schedule a regular “date night” with Him! (Sorry to put this in marital terms, but THIS SHOE FITS!) All relationships abound and flourish in the realm of TIME. If a time slot is not made for a relationship, it eventually shrivels and dies. If we set aside one day a week to soak in Him, think how productive the other six will be! The mirror of this command reveals another nuance – we are to work (be productive) for six days. God is always at work, we are made in His image… if we are lazy and not working, then we are not reflecting His image! Adam and Eve spent time working in the garden, and then “in the cool of the day” walked and debriefed with God. There was an ebb and flow to their schedule that had built-in conversation time with God. When we step into the fullness of all the great things God has for us, this is what our schedule should look like. Notice that I’ve not brought “church” into this. The “Sabbath” or “rest day” is for you to reconnect with God. If that is what your Sunday church time does, then by all means, keep it up. But if Sunday church time is a “big stresser,” or “showtime” to impress others with dress or intellect, or a social music experience where you meet cool people and hang out – then you’ve missed it totally! Preachers and teachers who spend the day “working” on Sunday will tell you that they need an “unplug day” where it’s simply rest and Jesus. If they miss this, they’ll be just as guilty as the person who violates the Sabbath by playing and avoiding God on Sunday. I challenge you to put aside electronics, other relationships and distractions, and simply walk or lay in the grass or in a quiet place with God. Have a weekly “unload” point in your schedule – PLANNED! Some weeks, you may actually sleep though some of it – that’s fine! Exhale! God wants some alone time with you up in His lap; after all, He is your Father!
Work on your schedule…
You shall have no other gods before me.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”