“The TOP 10 WAYS HUMANS MESS UP THE IMAGE OF GOD IN THEIR LIVES.”
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
Look at the first family—Adam and Eve sinned, left the Garden of Eden, lost regular contact with God, and started raising a family. Both sons were approached by God to offer their best in worship—one does but the other doesn’t, and Cain kills Abel out of jealousy. TOTAL DYSFUNCTION! Now, imagine Adam and Eve’s heart condition at this point… one son is dead and the other son acts out in shame and total disrespect toward God and his parents. From this vantage point it could be said that Cain’s sin was as much directed at his parents, and ultimately God, as it was directed toward Abel. Yet the command to “honor” our earthly father and mother is so dramatically fluid through the span of our lives; it can potentially show on human canvases how we paint our portrait of love for God. As children, we obey their simple commands to clean our rooms or not eat cookies before supper. In our dating years, we listen to their counsel and they help us reflect on a marriage partner. As we age, one day we will care for them the way they cared for us. It is scripturally a “sacred relationship,” set apart by God for all humans to engage in. Even the stepchild and the orphan are encouraged to find their surrogate parent(s) and rest under the shelter of this command.
At THIS time in your life, what does the Holy Spirit tell you that “honoring” your father and mother looks like?
“You shall not murder.”
This verse is genetically bound to the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:21-22a “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.” At the very root of murder is an angry heart. If we lived in a totally lawless society and had access to weapons, we would undoubtedly all be murderers! Imagine what it must be like for God, who “knows the heart of every man” and before whose eyes “everything is uncovered and laid bare,” what He must “hear” from the hearts of all men collectively. Our sin natures are connected to our emotional selves, our deceitful hearts, and our selfish interests. We don’t see people as eternal objects of God’s love, but as temporal “things” that get in the way of our best interests. Murder IS part of our nature. Fortunately through the restraint of law, the fear of punishment, and the relentless work of the Holy Spirit on our consciences, we don’t see much of it but Jesus pointed out its root. When we look in the mirror, we know what must be done with our hearts!
Write down the names (or initials if it is too embarrassing) of the 5 people you are most likely to be angry with:
Now spend the next few minutes praying for God’s highest and best in their lives! (I’m not kidding!!!) Be specific in your prayers. Think creatively how God could bless them in amazing ways and draw them into an eternally rich situation. Write down those specifics beside each name. Consider these words from Jesus that are just a few verses down from the ones mentioned before… “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48).
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.”