During our life, with age, we often get thoughts about how to live right, to act properly, where to look for happiness and the true meaning of life. We do not find satisfaction either in expensive purchases or in our achievements ...
We've heard about Jesus saving our lives. Is that enough or we actually need to do anything ourselves?
Bible describes a journey of individual people and nations from the beginning of times and allows to form a pretty good picture of who God is, why He created us and what is expected from us. But let’s start at the beginning.
Let's take a look at the 10 commandments from Old testament delivered to us from God by Moses. The 10 commandments were given to people thousands of years ago, they are short and simple and serve as a great start to those who want to know what God wants from us.
- You shall have no other gods before me.
- Do not bow down to an image of anything...
- You hall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
- Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
- Honor your father and mother.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
- You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Before we get to the details of each of the commandments, let's look at a more recent writing to get a word about these commandments from Jesus Christ, the only Son of True God.
"Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?" Jesus replied, " 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments."( Matthew 22:36-40 )
As per Jesus, the basis for all of these commandments that we are going to review is love & care for others.
1. You shall have no other gods before me. Or, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.
Throughout the history, people were creating gods from silver, gold, wood, clay and worshiping them with sophisticated rituals, sacrificing innocent animals and people, often newborns… In modern age the most common gods or idols are wealth and power. To serve these idols, we only think of how to get more money or power despite having enough already. We turn away from helping others, lose compassion towards our friends, neighbors, people in need. Instead, we need to put the God first. Love first.
"If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.( Matthew 10:37-39 )
What does it mean to love God and put him first? If we do not see God in our daily lives, do not hear him, how can we love him? Where can we find God?
It's probably more difficult to understand our God from Old Testament, where His care for us was often perceived as a meaningless set of strict rules and restrictions. But Jesus came down to Earth to show us the true image of our Father, our God.
If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!"( John 14:7 )
Therefore, to understand who God is, we need to learn more about Jesus Christ, his story and his story in the New Testament.
What does it mean to love God?
"If you love me, obey my commandments.( John 14:15 )
And the same thing Jesus did himself. To show the world that he loves the Father, he died on the cross, for Father had asked him to do so.
but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let's be going.( John 14:31 )
Let's show our love to Jesus who came down to represent God on Earth. Let's study his works to understand the true meaning of love. And the result of such love would be obeying his commandments.
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.( 1 John 4:7 )
2. Do not bow down to an image of anything
"You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected-- even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.( Exodus 20:4-6 )
It's very hard to resist the temptation to worship something we see with our own eyes. Apart from making images of idols, we like to bow before the pictures of saints, kiss a painting of Jesus Christ and his mother Maria. And that leads us to a false view of who God is… Our God is not that picture in the church that can get burned or stolen. God is not a Bible, or Torah, or Quran or any other book or a scripture.
If we put our love, faith and hope into an image of something, with that image gone our hope will die. We forget that nobody has ever seen God. Nobody knows what Jesus Christ looked like. If the physical appearance of Jesus is that important, wouldn't God deliver a detailed description of him in the Bible?...
In real life Jesus unlikely looked like anything we've seen on any images of him. For his appearance was of nothing remarkable… Jesus is not meant to be recognized and remembered for his external appearance. Here is the description of the coming Messiah from the prophet Isaiah.
My servant grew up in the LORD's presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.( Isaiah 53:2 )
God does not want us to worship any images of anything. Instead, he wants us to know that God is love, and God can abide within us. We do not need any things to have or images to see in order to talk to him and to be with him. Poor and rich, healthy and disabled people - all have equal access to God.
But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.( 1 John 4:8 )
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.( 1 John 4:16 )
We invite God to be with us forever, and nothing can separate us from him.
3. Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God
"You must not misuse the name of the LORD your God. The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.( Exodus 20:7 )
The "name" in this context means the image and reputation. It's very easy to misinterpret and misunderstand the Lord our God. If we keep hearing "I swear by God…" or "Oh my God, this is…", "God did this with me…", "God is a lie from a fairy tales" or misusing God's name ourselves, even just saying without meaning it, we lose the meaning of sacred and powerful God. And with that we'll lose the hopes of finding Him.
"Do not bring shame on the name of your God by using it to swear falsely. I am the LORD.( Leviticus 19:12 )
And this is what the LORD of Heaven's Armies says: I am sending this curse into the house of every thief and into the house of everyone who swears falsely using my name. And my curse will remain in that house and completely destroy it-- even its timbers and stones."( Zechariah 5:4 )
4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy
What do we know about Sabbath in the bible?
And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I am the LORD, who had set them apart to be holy.( Ezekiel 20:12 )
Do not do your work on the Sabbath, but make it a holy day. I gave this command to your ancestors, but they did not listen or obey. They stubbornly refused to pay attention or accept my discipline. " 'But if you obey me, says the LORD, and do not carry on your trade at the gates or work on the Sabbath day, and if you keep it holy,( Jeremiah 17:22-24 )
"Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don't pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD's holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don't follow your own desires or talk idly.( Isaiah 58:13 )
Sabbath was given to us to have a rest from our daily routine, to not worry about things or work to do, and to free up our head from the burden of this world… However, we’ve been certainly misusing the Sabbath for thousands of years… The commandment that supposed to help us unload our burdens from our minds and clear up the pathway to God was used by people as a way to punish others.
The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man's hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.( Luke 6:7 )
As mentioned above, this is not a day on which we are looking for benefits for ourselves or our business. And what to do when someone needs our help on a day when you can't work?
Then Jesus said to his critics, "I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?"( Luke 6:9 )
He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, "Hold out your hand." So the man held out his hand, and it was restored!( Luke 6:10 )
Let us keep Saturdays a day in which we will not work or seek any benefit for ourselves. But even on Saturday we will not shy away from work if it helps someone else.
5. Honor your father and mother
As we grow older, parent’s role and share in our life gets smaller. Now that we've grown older, we better understand now that our parents were actually right when they taught us something, yet it takes us years of age difference between them and us to understand that. And now as they get older, it’s get harder for them to walk, sleep, and even breathe, and the laughter of their kids that they loved to hear, moved away from their house alone with the kids. And we are still years behind to understand their sorrow.
God loves us, but he also loves our parents, and wants them to do well. So let us help him, and give a little love to those who generously gave us their love, and help them at least a little brighten up their old age, which we will soon meet ourselves.
But those who won't care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.( 1 Timothy 5:8 )
6. You shall not murder
There is not much we can add to this, except that we should not murder not just physically, but spiritually as well. Instead, we need to love our neighbors, as well as our enemies, encourage them and help them succeed.
7. You shall not commit adultery
Here we quote Jesus himself.
"You have heard the commandment that says, 'You must not commit adultery.' But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye-- even your good eye-- causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand-- even your stronger hand-- causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.( Matthew 5:27-30 )
And from apostle Paul.
God's will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor-- not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. Never harm or cheat a Christian brother in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before.( 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 )
8. You shall not steal
Do not steal any things. Do not steal a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Do not steal any right for freedom, for the place under the sky…
Do not delay payment to the one you hired.
"Do not defraud or rob your neighbor."Do not make your hired workers wait until the next day to receive their pay.( Leviticus 19:13 )
Tainted wealth has no lasting value, but right living can save your life.( Proverbs 10:2 )
or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-- none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.( 1 Corinthians 6:10 )
9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor
Or, in short, do not lie… It may happen when we think that someone obviously did something wrong, and we add to our words more than we have actually seen or heard, ruining someone's life. God warns us about that.
Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.( Proverbs 25:18 )
A false witness will not go unpunished, and a liar will be destroyed.( Proverbs 19:9 )
So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.( Ephesians 4:25 )
"You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand.( Exodus 23:1 )
10. You shall love your neighbor as yourself
From old testament we see a simplistic view of this commandment.
"You must not covet your neighbor's house. You must not covet your neighbor's wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor."( Exodus 20:17 )
"Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.( Leviticus 19:18 )
Yet, as we already know from Jesus, this commandment is the foundation of the law, which is also reminded by Paul.
For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."( Galatians 5:14 )
It's hard to overestimate this commandment. And at the same time it's hard to fulfill it. Let's be mindful to those around us. Do not turn away from those who need help. It's a blessing to be able to help others in need.
It's natural to us to look at the riches of this world. The news of this world are focused on successful, rich people, stocks & markets… Following them brings us anxiety, envy, impatience, and dries us out. And it's not where our neighbors are. Our neighbors are not in the news. They are often the poor ones who are truly grateful for the food they get, for they do not get a lot of it. They thank God for an extra day of life for their dying child. They praise God for a new friend they get, for people often avoid them. They get happy from a single word of encouragement, for they do not get much of them in prison where some of them are. For our God is with these people, as well as those who care about those around them.
If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD-- and he will repay you!( Proverbs 19:17 )
Helping our neighbors in need is what fills the emptiness inside of us. And that is what makes us closer to God.
Let's look around. We'll see co-workers, family members, our neighbors, poor people on streets. If we help these people around us, we help God.
For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.' "Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?' "And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'( Matthew 25:35-40 )
"Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.( Matthew 7:12 )
"But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.( Luke 6:27 )
These are the 10 commandments, the ten simple instructions that God gave us long time ago. They are given to us from the one who loves and cares for us. The 10 commandments is a good start for us to start following now and to get a deeper understanding of who Christ is, who showed us the true meaning of the law and the sinless life.
We highly recommend reading the Gospel from Bible covering the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and his Earthly life.
And below there are some quotes from both Old and New testaments that can help us tune up our lives further.
Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.( 2 John 1:9 )
So you must live as God's obedient children. Don't slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn't know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.( 1 Peter 1:14-15 )
Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.( 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 )
One of the most difficult things to do is to understand what our wealth is really for…
Has not the LORD of Heaven's Armies promised that the wealth of nations will turn to ashes? They work so hard, but all in vain! For as the waters fill the sea, the earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of the LORD.( Habakkuk 2:13-14 )
After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can't take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.( 1 Timothy 6:7-10 )
Be humble and don't think highly of yourself.
Don't demand an audience with the king or push for a place among the great. It's better to wait for an invitation to the head table than to be sent away in public disgrace. Just because you've seen something,( Proverbs 25:6-7 )
It's not good to eat too much honey, and it's not good to seek honors for yourself.( Proverbs 25:27 )
"Son of man, how does a grapevine compare to a tree? Is a vine's wood as useful as the wood of a tree? Can its wood be used for making things, like pegs to hang up pots and pans? No, it can only be used for fuel, and even as fuel, it burns too quickly. Vines are useless both before and after being put into the fire!( Ezekiel 15:2-5 )
But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, "God opposes the proud but favors the humble." So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.( James 4:6-8 )
Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.( 1 Thessalonians 5:14,15,18 )
As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.( 2 Thessalonians 3:13 )
There are six things the LORD hates-- no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.( Proverbs 6:16-19 )
"Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light.( Matthew 6:22 )
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.( 2 Timothy 4:3 )
Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time.( Titus 3:9 )
Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.( Romans 12:2 )
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God's promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.( 2 Peter 1:5-7 )
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.( 1 John 2:15-17 )
And remember, whatever you do, do it with God in your hearts.
Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.( Psalms 127:1-2 )