Most people have heard about The Ten Commandments. They are often met with negative feelings as if they’re just a bunch of “Thou shalt and thou shalt nots.” We don’t like to be controlled. Aren’t they archaic?Are they really necessary in today’s world? In our subconscious we may also harbor the feeling that they can’t all be kept anyway so why try? What good is it to us?
The Ten Commandments are recorded in two places: Exodus 20:3-17 and Deuteronomy 5:7-21. However, it’s the verse that precedes those two passages that puts all those “thou shalt and thou shalt nots,” into proper perspective. Both Exodus 20:2 and Deuteronomy 5:6 reads as follows: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.”
Do you see the vastness of God’s love here? He loved them so much that He not only rescued them from slavery, but He gave them instructions to keep them from going back into bondage again. Of course, He was talking about a far more serious act of enslavement than anything they experienced from the Egyptians. He was talking about spiritual slavery, the same captivity that threatens us today.
You see, when you and I accept God’s gift of eternal life with Him, and forgiveness of all our sins, He puts us on a new path of hope and joy where all things wonderful are possible. He sets us free from the daily drudgery this world keeps us in. He cleans up our hearts, gives us hope of better things to come, and places His own Holy Spirit within us. The Holy Spirit is our seal, guaranteeing that we belong to God. The Holy Spirit is our teacher and guide. However, we have the choice to ignore Him. What are the consequences if we do? Return to bondage.
When we accept the freedom of life in the joy and power of God, we are free indeed from the stranglehold of this world. If, in time, we turn from that freedom, allowing the allures of this world to choke out the joy, and flood the engine of our peace with a willful ignoring of His loving instructions, we will lose that power and that joy and that peace that only comes in full throttle from God Himself.
We can say we don’t like to be controlled, but in that we have no choice. We will be controlled by one of two things — either the light or the darkness. We can’t escape control, but we can choose who controls us. One leads to despair while the other leads to inner peace such as the world cannot fully understand. One returns us to slavery while the other keeps us free. I hope you choose to follow the paths of God who is filled with loving instructions for us — not some of the time, but all of the time. I wonder if the above is helped by the instruction found in Hebrews 10:24, “Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works.” God uses each of us to encourage one another to stay on the good and right path. May we each encourage someone today to — stay focused on God’s loving guidance and stay free!