Updated: Mar 24
The Ten Commandments A
So what are the Ten Commandments all about anyhow? And who follows them in this day and age? I’d like to take a stab at defending them and share my take on them because they were the beginning steps of my walk with God and a whole new way of life. Which my friends and family can surly attest to.
I always loosely followed them and just thought they were a good way to live. I didn’t take them too serious, nor thought there would be any consequences if I didn’t. Like the Golden Rule kind of thing. But the more I started living them, the more they brought me closer to God, and into a new life. Everything I thought was important became unimportant and vice versa.
The Ten Commandments are from the Bible, handed down to Moses who wrote them on a stone tablet for our best chance at a successful life here and in the life hereafter.
1. You will have no one to gods before me.
2. You shall not have any graven images before me and bow down nor serve them. 3. You shall not take my name in vain.
4. Keep my Sabbath
5. Honor your mother and your father.
6. Don’t murder.
7. Don’t commit adultery.
8. Don’t steal.
9. Don’t bear false witness against your neighbour.
10. Don’t covet your neighbours house, wife, ox, or any thing of his.
An easy way to look at them is to break them down into three sections. The first four are about God himself, the next four are about his people, and the last two are about his things. I’ll address each section over the next three posts.
Let’s look at the first four.
Number One. You’ll have no other gods before me. I can’t quite honestly say I put my career, my job, my dog and other things ahead of God, but my actions sure attested to it. I thought I could control outcomes so I would double, and triple my efforts to that end. Sewing until 2 o’clock in the morning to finish some project, not leaving the office before 9 pm to avoid something unfavourable at home, being obsessed with my pet’s health and comfort to the point of denying myself obvious basics.
These are some of the things I did trying to control life from start to finish, only for them to fall flat. Being bone tired I’d get a call the sewing project wasn’t required after all, or the relationship broke down anyway, or the pet died regardless of my financial reach. I was totally bewildered but wouyld quadruple my efforts.
However when I started putting God and his guidelines first, things began shifting. I got the call I didn’t need to finish the sewing before I stayed up all night, I left work with everyone else willing to go through relationship discomfort that never came, or I realized my pet was as devoted whether it was liver pate or kibble.
In the early years I had this mantra “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all things will be added” my mutant version of Matthew 6:33, and it aided me greatly in making decisions. (There was a period when I doubted everything and couldn’t decide a thing). But with my new mantra I had a tool to help figure it out. I could discern between catching the last day of linen sale at the Bay, or sitting on the phone all afternoon was honouring God. It was clumbsy at first but I started getting the hang of it, and life started flowing rather than the fits and starts I was used to.
What about number two, having any graven images? Years ago I got involved in a support group that helped me tremendously and I’m incredibly indebted to them. But somewhere along the line it started not working and becoming unhealthy. I couldn’t put my finger on it exactly, and of course it would be years before I stopped following the crowd to follow my conscience. I later realized this was a form of idoltry and that’s why I was feeling uncomfortable. When I stopped cherry picking my spirituality to suit myself and followed the truth, things began to shift dramaticall.
And number three, swearing using Gods precious name. I was the worst offender back in the day but then the ball volled. I would squirm when I heard someone cuss out using his name. At first I would always say something which inevitably would caused more discord, so I had to learn what battles to pick. I began having metal ping-pong matches as whether to say something. So now, I gently say something sometimes and sometimes I don’t.
What about keeping the Sabbath? Who can afford a whole day of leisure for God when you have only two days off to get everything done before going back to work on Monday? That was my recording.
When I first joined the work force in the 70-80’s, the stores weren’t open on Sundays at all. As a teen we used to push one another in the found buggy in the empty Sears parking lot for entertainment. In my 20’s we used to go to a Point Roberts pub in the US to drink on Sunday nights because they weren’t open here. The only thing open on a Sunday was the bowling alley at Old Orchard in Burnaby. Middle Gate was locked up tight.
But after a refresher in precept four, I decided to do something about in my own world. It started small. An hour a Sunday to somehow honor God didn’t seem that unreasonable. I could curb the trip to the mall, or defer a work project to send a thank you card to someone.
It was around the same time, I worked for a company where it was mandatory to take our holidays. We couldn’t work through them like I usually did (because I was always broke). Heather, the best boss I ever had in fact, insisted we needed the rest even though we thought we didn’t. That we would ‘come back better employees as a result,’ she said. And she was right. So that encouraged me too. Ducks were beginning to align in one direction.
My hour a Sunday morphed into a couple of hours that morphed into whole day twenty years later. A day of no chores, shopping or hard labour. Yard work was okay as long as it fell into the enjoyment-hobby category.
My head initially told me I couldn’t possibly give up a whole day, there was way too much to do. It was tough at first but as I was willing and the hours expanded, two things happened. One, I found out a lot of things aren’t as essential as I thought, and two, I got to know God better which was more fulfilling than anything on my to-do list. As I did, so did He.
So now twenty-plus years later I call Sundays my people day. I write cards and notes, make phone calls, take in nature or visit someone with a batch of muffins — all guilt free! I generally take a day of rest, physically and mentally, from the weekly grind and am a better person because of it.
Now don’t get me wrong. God’s grace cannot be manufactured by following a rigid set of instructions like a recipe for bread. Its in the spirit of heart not the letter of the law, that allows his grace to enter our lives and dwell there.
But believe you me, it’s worth the effort and when you do, you’re going to wonder how you had the time not-to all these years.