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If you could summarize the entire Bible into a couple of sentences what would you say? It turns out Jesus was asked something like this. Thank goodness. I would love to know what Jesus would have to say. Upon being asked this ridiculously difficult question, He said...
(Mark 12:29-31) Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord.30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
He said, "Love God. Love your neighbor." Many theologians believe He is referring to the Ten Commandments. A great way to see the BIG TEN is to divide it up into two sections. The first half speaks of how to fully honor God and the second half is about how to live with your neighbor.
Here's a list according to Exodus and Deuteronomy:
The 10 Commandments List, Short Form*
- You shall have no other gods before Me.
- You shall not make idols.
- You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet.
Let's look at the first five and learn how to honor God, according to God.
1- You shall have no other gods before Me.
Me first. God knows we worship what we place as a priority in our lives. God requires that we place Him first because only He can handle the weight of our hopes and expectations. Many of us need to lower our expectations of others and raise our expectations of God. He says if we want to worship Him with everything we have, don't date God. Commit to Him. Make God the priority relationship in our lives.
2- You shall not make idols.
Have no second. In other words, do not elevate anything else to a level of worship in our lives. The reason for not having any idols is we keep our relationship with God pure and undefiled from other false loves in our lives. This is just like a spouse saying they expect to be the only love in their life. We do not think it is too much to ask for our spouse to be faithful to us. God says the same thing.
3- You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
This command means more than being respectful when using His Name. It is more like being respectful when you represent His Name. When you "carry" His name before others, honor Him. In certain clubs, you have earned the right to wear certain colors or clothing that signifies you are part of their group. You can also get in big trouble when you act in a certain way while wearing their identification markers. God is saying, "If you want to show Me you love Me, carry My Name with pride. Be proud to be Mine."
Represent Me well.
4- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, there was likely no such thing as an off day. It was seven days a week, forever. However, they were now instructed to take a day off every week. This was not just so they could rest. It was a day of refreshing and worship. It was a day set aside to place their trust in the Lord and delight in Him. The nation of Israel was instructed to remember God was in charge and could operate the world without them. They were invited to enter into His rest. He still commands this today.
Trust and delight in Me.
5- Honor your father and your mother.
We round out our final way to love God by loving those He has placed in leadership over us. This can be difficult if our leaders are unholy, unwell, or unsafe. We can find ourselves struggling to see God in them at all. However, honor is not the same thing as complete obedience. Honor is an act of respecting their position, not necessarily the person. For example, depending on your political persuasion, you may or may not have voted for our current president. No matter what, we still respect the office of the president and work hard to work with the person who is currently serving in that position. God says a way to love Him is to do your best to honor the position of authority in your life.
So, there you have it. You want to show love toward God. How about you? Which of these five comes the easiest for you? Which is the most difficult? Let me know in the comments.