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Monday, September 18, 2006

1st Way to Delight in the Lord

As a child, I thought the 10 Commandments were simply a set of rules to follow. Then, I discovered I couldn't keep the rules, leading me to Christ for my righteousness. Then, the 10 Commandments no longer condemn, but show us the character of God. As a believer, I can look to these laws to see how to please the Father. For if Christ never once violated these laws, and my desire is to look more like Him, then these laws help me know Him.

You shall have no other gods before me.

I've had a few atheists suggest to me that this is the problem with the Bible. They claim that in the first commandment, God admits that there are other gods. They paint God as a attention craving being Who must get all the recognition. In effect, they want to claim there must be either no god or many different options. If the problem was God, then they'd be right. But, Isaiah 44 show us the problem is man. We take that which should not be considered a god, and elevate it as an item of worship. It is not actually a diety, but we treat it as if it is. That is why, God says, "You shall not have" instead of "You shall not recognize" or "accept." It truly is not divine, but we worship and obey it over God.

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

We naturally set ourselves up to worship and serve. In our fallen state, we quickly place ourselves under the wrong authority. We may not prostrate ourselves to a wallet or to dollar bills, but we can easily find ourselves serving the wrong master. Jesus makes it clear that a split allegience will not work. There is only room in each life for one master. Paul says,

Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?

Our American ideal of complete freedom and independence is flawed. We are not capable of living our lives freed from all authority and rule. Instead, real joy and freedom is found in being a servant to the right authority. After being freed from the bondage of sin, the believer should not seek to be completely autonomous. Instead, the believer should understand that their freedom comes by living under the authority of obedience to Christ. In reality, there is no sin that can be committed that is not a violation of the first commandment.

For to worship God is to worship God alone.

[Other commandments: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]


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