Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Commandments

Hi all...

While taking my partner to work this morning, I took notice of a sign in a yard by which we passed. Now, I've seen the sign a number of times. I don't think the magnitude of the message really struck me until today.

There is a well-painted sign of the ten commandments on a pretty white board that is shaped a bit like the front of a church. It's pretty good sized and right on the roadway, so you really can't miss it. I can't number the times we've driven right by it without paying much attention. So why today, you ask? I've been thinking about what Jesus had to say.

In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus says, "...Love the Lord with all you 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." Interestingly, Jesus decided that rather than a whole bunch of rules, He would simplify it for us. He listed just two commandments . One is to love the Lord with everything that is in you. The second is to let love be the guiding force in your life.

In Romans, Paul simplifies this even more. In Romans 13:9-10, he says, "The commandments 'Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not covet', and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

It's interesting to me that some people, especially conservative Christians, feel the need to tie themselves to the Law. If we are truly New Covenant people, then it is the teaching of Jesus that we should follow. And if you really consider the scriptures we've seen today, truly all the Law and the Prophets and the Commandments are summed up in one word; LOVE. If we consider others with love, we will not sin against them or against God. If we operate in love, we will want only the best for others with whom we have relationships. If we operate in love, we will be kind to those who are not necessarily kind to us. Yes, Jesus and Paul summed in all up in a very neat little package!

It sounds so simple, doesn't it? Well, if you've ever tried to live that life, you know it isn't as easy as it sounds. It takes a concentrated effort on our part to bring our emotions and thoughts into obedience and live in love. They (the theologically learned) tell us that living a life of love will get easier with time and practice. Gee, I hope so! It is my goal to focus on and live a life that shows the love of Jesus. What about you? The next time someone cuts you off in traffic, show some godly restraint and respond in love. The next time someone grabs the parking space for which you've waited five minutes (and had your blinker on), don't give them the international sign language for which we're all so famous. Respond in love, not revenge. You'll begin to see how much the Lord had to discipline Himself to be our sacrifice, our Savior. It's an eye-opener. Promise.

May the love of Christ be pre-eminent in your life this day and may you experience the many blessings which He has in store for you as His child.


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