“Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not give dishonest testimony against your neighbor. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife or desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
His Heart and His Commands
What are some of the most common perceptions of the church from those outside it? Some say it’s a good place for good people to go; others believe it’s not much more than a hall of hypocrisy. But what about those who feel as though the Christian faith is nothing more than unattainable rule-following? Is Scripture really anything more than a bunch of laws that say, “Just don’t do it?”
Just as we set guidelines and boundaries for our kids, so God does the same for us—no matter how ripe our old age may be! Here’s His heart behind His commands: our good, His glory.
What’s the Big Idea?
Today’s verses declare to God’s people, “Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not give dishonest testimony against your neighbor. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife or desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
So, what are we supposed to make of this? Most of us aren’t out here openly murdering, cheating, thieving, lying, or stealing. (Just as the rich young ruler declared in Mark 10!) Why exactly does this matter for us today?
Checking Our Hearts
It’s a heart check in a couple of different ways. For starters, it’s a reminder to us that our God is a God of justice and care. Because of the ways He cares for us, we should honor others through doing right by them. This is one way that the passage applies. The second is that it’s a reminder of the substance of His heart and character. He is a good God; therefore, He cares that we are contributing to the good works due His name.
The Christian faith is more than just refraining from doing bad things; it means cultivating the good as a reflection of the God who is our ultimate good. More than just avoiding sin, we are to immerse ourselves in the things of the Lord who cares for us so deeply.
His commands do more than keep us out of trouble. They save lives, relationships, and marriages as we seek to live lives that honor His name. May we exude the liveliness and everlasting life that He has to offer; may our children see that there’s more to our lives and faith than a “just don’t do it” when it comes to sin.
Think about the outside perception of your faith for those who are in your circle of influence. Does your love for Jesus seem more like drudgery or devotion? Is the avoidance of sin your primary motivation or is it an affection for the God who loves you so deeply? Reflect on your motivation and how you can lead others to His good character through your own good works.