- You shall have no other gods before me. If you don't worship Baal, Buddah or Mother Earth, that's great. But that doesn't mean you are obeying this commandment. What about other people or things... do you worship a relationship? The tv? Your hobby? Your children? Yourself? Have you chosen these things or prioritized them over God? If you don't get to church on Sunday because you're too lazy to get out of bed, but on Saturday you're up early to go shopping or fishing, I would imagine you might just worship something other than God. If you think you are good enough without church, then maybe you worship yourself!
- 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 under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them... I know most of us don't sit at home with a chunk of wood and a knife, makin' an idol to worship, but there are many unbelievers that worship the stars, animals, or the 'energy of the earth'. These people worship the created things, rather than the Creator of these things.
- 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. Do you ever say God's name in vain? Or use Jesus' name inappropriately? If you do, this is blasphemy and is a very serious sin against God. Some people don't think twice about it.
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. This has really lost it's importance in the world. I remember when stores weren't open Sundays! I don't know that God cares what day you make your Sabbath, as long as you rest from your work. God made this day holy when He rested from creating the Earth.
- Honor your father and mother. Have you ever been defiant against your parent(s)? Of course you have- everybody has, including me. ( I was probably one of the worst.) This is a sin against the Holy God.
- You shall not murder. Most of us haven't killed anybody. But have you wished anyone dead? God knows your thoughts! Have you ever aborted a baby? Whether you like it or not, that's murder in God's eyes.
- You shall not commit adultery. Some of you are the victims of your spouse committing adultery. Maybe you were the one that cheated on your spouse. It's obvious that you have broken this commandment. But I ask honestly: have you ever looked at a woman or man with lust? Matthew 5:28 says, "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." So have you sinned against God?
- You shall not steal. Have you ever stolen anything in your life? You are a thief in the eyes of God.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Have you ever lied about someone that would lead to their punishment?
- You shall not covet your neighbor's house, you shall not covet your neighbor's wife; or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's. I am pretty sure I can confidently say we have all done this.
God knows our hearts. Some of you would say that God is a loving God and he knows my heart-he wouldn't send me to hell. But God is also a fair God. If in a real court case, a murderer says, but it was a mistake, I have a good heart- even with other testimonies to his goodness, he still committed murder. A judge wouldn't excuse his punishment for a crime because he is a good person at heart. God knows our hearts, and although we think we can fool God sometimes, we can't. He sees every part of our heart- even the parts we keep hidden from the world. and that is why even if you commit these sins in your heart, you have sinned against God.
So, back to 1 John 5:
(verses 1-3) "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome."
What does this mean, not burdensome? My ESV Study Bible has this in the footnotes. "When rightly understood and followed, God's commandments bring believers great joy and freedom, not a sense of oppression."
If the world would just follow God's commands, life on this earth would be so much better. It's because we violate the 10 Commandments as well as other commands throughout Scripture that this life can be miserable and dysfunctional. Can you imagine the world if all these commandments were obeyed?
I challenge you today- since you have violated God's law, ask yourself: "How will I be judged?" Will you be proven guilty because of your sin, or not guilty because your sins have been paid with the blood of Jesus?
(verse 12) "Whoever has the Son has life, whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life."
When Jesus is our Savior we are told that, "if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests we have asked of him." (verses 14-15) What is God's will? His will is detailed greatly in His Word, the Bible-it's what pleases Him. If you are praying for something that goes against the Bible, it obviously won't be answered- i.e. to be rich. The goal of prayer is not to get what you ask for- but to deepen your communion with God. You get this when you have aligned yourself with His will. You have been praying for days- months- years for something, and God still isn't responding! But you prayed and prayed and prayed for that person's life, and they still died of their disease! But you asked with confidence and that person still died without knowing Jesus! How can we believe this verse if we have tried to put it into practice honestly and prayers weren't answered? The Lord loves us, more than we can imagine- more than we can love another human being. God wants the best for us. He is good all the time. When we pray, pray in complete faith, patience, obedience and submission to Him. There are many times when God does not answer prayer the way we think he should. But who are we to know His thoughts? Sometimes it seems unfair when He doesn't heal someone, change their heart, provide for the family, restore a marriage- but His thoughts are much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8) and we have to put our trust in His godly and loving wisdom before judging His answer based on our human finite minds. Don't give up on asking God just because He hasn't answered yet and don't lose faith in Him just because He didn't answer your prayer the way you wanted Him to. Instead, trust Him and continue to love and worship Him.