- Have no other gods, but God.
- Make no idols of worship in your life.
- Honor the Lord's name. Never use it disrespectful.
- Keep the sabbath, a full day of worship and rest.
- Honor your parents.
- Cherish life. Do not kill (people).
- Protect fidelity. Do not commit adultery.
- Use only what's yours. Do not steal.
- Do not lie against anyone.
- Be satisfied. Do not covet what others have.
Now about 1,400 years later, along comes Jesus. He is confronted by religious leaders (whom He made a habit of challenging). They ask him which of these Ten Commandments are most important. Look at what He says in Matthew 22:37-40, 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."
Okay, so many of us Christians read the Bible and it seems like an endless litany of do's and don'ts. But the reality is that God was pretty simplistic in what He wanted from us. When He sent Jesus, He even boiled it down to even simpler terms for us. If what Jesus said is true --- that these two commandments form the foundation for everything else God wants from us --- then perhaps the rest of what's written in the Bible about what we should and shouldn't do are really practical applications of these two things.
I believe obedience is really that simple folks. It's not that difficult to understand what God wants from us. In fact, when I look at how to obey God, I don't worry about all the religious rules. Instead, I tend to take Jesus at His word, and look to some simple areas of my life, which I've learned are common indicators of how I'm doing in those two foundational commandments. There are six (6) of those areas. They are as follows:
MY HEART - Do I love God more than any relationship, activity, achievement or possession in my life?
MY WILL - Am I really committing myself, each day, completely to Him? Or do I hold something in reserve for myself?
MY MIND - How am I seeking, daily, to know Him and His Word. How are His principles and values forming the foundation of all I think and do?
MY BODY - I must recognize that my strengths, talents and even my sexuality are given to me by God --- to be used for His pleasure and fulfillment in my life. Does what I'm doing today line up with that?
MY FINANCES - All of the financial resources that I have belong to God. I am simply the trustee He has placed over them --- and not the owner. Do I spend money like a trustee? Do I hold money in that regard?
MY FUTURE - Are service to God and the people He places in my life the main focus of my life's work? Or am I trying to accomplish something else?
Let's not get wrapped around the axles on what we as Christians should or shouldn't be doing. Instead, let's simplify it and look for practical ways to accomplish it. Obedience will be my middle name!