“Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart –they do no wrong but follow his ways. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.” Psalm 119: 1-8 (NIV)
Growing up in the church, I always viewed the commandments as a long list of “do nots” – things not to do, and rules not to break. I have vivid memories of reflecting on that list and feeling like a complete and utter failure – I could always easily identify numerous times and in numerous ways that I had acted or thought out of accordance with God’s law. I remember the hopelessness of feeling that I could never successfully abide by all those rules, and the fear of what that might mean for me in the afterlife. It was overwhelming and frightening to consider.
It was a sermon I heard a number of years ago that helped me to re-frame my old ideas about the Ten Commandments and view God’s instructions more positively. Rather than thinking of the commandments as a list of things I needed to worry about NOT doing out of fear or guilt, I started to view them as a list of rules that, when I chose to abide by them, made me a happier, healthier, and more faithful follower of Christ. I started to understand that God wasn’t placing restrictions on my thoughts and actions because God didn’t want me to have any fun – but showing me a path to become the very best version of myself that I can be. And when we start to worry less about what we should not do, we’re better able to concentrate our time and energy on all that we can do to demonstrate our love for God and others.
Questions for Reflection:
- How do you view God’s commandments?
- What opportunities do you have to seek the Lord with all your heart this week?
Lord God, Thank you for knowing and loving us so completely, for recognizing our human weaknesses, and for providing us your commandments to guide and protect us from ourselves. Lord, help us to remember to turn to You in prayer, and grace us with the peace and love only You can provide. In Your name we pray, Amen.
About the Author:
Jessica Langenberg and her husband Mike have lived in Lincoln for over ten years, where she works in training and development. Joining Southwood in 2011, she and her husband Mike enjoy getting involved, along with their children Ellery and Reid.