We know we are supposed to love God, but what does that look like? Is it going to church? Tithing? Feeding the poor? What does God really want from us? Let’s re-encounter a passage from last week:
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matt 22:37-39 (ESV)
Do you think it’s possible to love with all your heart, soul and mind (this side of heaven)? In what ways do you excel? Which areas will require more work?
Last week, we also focused on the Ten Commandments. These are called “the Law”, and the first four focus on the relationship with God. The remaining six focus on our relationship with people.
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Ex 20:2-11 (ESV)
Why did God feel it important to remind His people that He brought them out of slavery in Egypt?
Who is to be the object of our worship? Why is that foundational? Can we follow the remainder of the Commandments if we worship another god? For instance, if you were focused on accumulation of wealth, would it be more difficult for you to keep a Sabbath?
Why does God “visit the iniquity of the fathers” to other generations? Can you think of a way that might happen even today? For instance, a baby born to an addicted mother is addicted at birth. How often do we stop and think of the consequences our sins have on others as well as ourselves?
The third commandment tells us not to take God’s name in vain – to treat it as worthless. Should this simply apply to our speech? How can this apply to our entire lifestyle? Do your actions reflect well upon God – do you “walk the talk”? Or are there areas where your Christian witness needs improvement?
We hear God’s name spoken with disrespect nearly every day. Years ago, this was not true. Why do you think that it’s more common to hear Jesus’ name spoken with disrespect?
The Sabbath: how do you honor the Sabbath? You go to church, but then? Do you take a shopping day? Do you go right back to work (if you have to work on Sunday, do you take another day for Sabbath rest)? How should we honor the Sabbath in 2012? Does it really have to look much different than it did for the Israelites?
Looking at these commandments, what do you think it should look like to love God? Are there areas that need improvement in your life? Do you need prayer, or an accountability partner? If you do, email me – or call the church. Don’t try to walk the Christian life alone. We can do it together!
See you Wednesday.