Thirty-five hundred years ago Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with a short list of rules that has shaped the values of people and nations for centuries. We know them as the Ten Commandments, but do we really know them? Many people believe that the rules are a condition for a relationship with God, things we must do to get in His good graces. But just the opposite is true. The relationship came before the rules. And the commandments were meant to not only reveal God’s heart, but to keep His people free.
Session One: The Rules
Bottom Line: Relationship always precedes rules with God.
To many, Christianity is about following a set of rules. And if you asked them “Why?” they would point to a single source—the Bible. Specifically, they would probably mention the Ten Commandments. But what most people miss is the whole context for that list. God established a relationship with the Israelites long before He even gave them the rules. He wanted them to know they were His people. The reality is that following the rules will never make God love us more. In fact, when you try to live them out, you begin to see just how much you need Him. With God, the relationship always precedes the rules. Always.
Session Two: One & Only
Bottom Line: The most important decision you make is what you place in the center of your life.
The first two commandments—”You shall have no other gods before me” and “You shall not make for yourself an idol”— are two of the most often forgotten. They have nothing to do with ego—in fact, they have more to do with us. If our lives revolved around God, then all of the other commandments, such as stealing, lying, adultery, etc., wouldn’t be an issue. So what would your life look like if you had no other gods but God?
Session Three: That’s Not My Name
Bottom Line: When you use the name of God to dodge the will of God, you will ultimately miss out on God entirely.
Have you ever said God’s name when you were angry or rattled off “OMG”? If so, you may have heard someone talk about you breaking one of the Ten—the one about misusing God’s name. But there’s much more to this command. Just think about it, do you think that’s all God was concerned about? Do you think that was the only reason He put it on such an important list? The reality is that we abuse God’s name when we choose to use it for our own selfish purposes—and that’s a dangerous game that involves more than just a careless slip of the tongue. If we dodge the will of God in the name of God, then we run the risk of missing God entirely.
Session Four: Do Nothing
Bottom Line: God can be trusted to provide.
How crazy is your life? Doesn’t it seem like the weeks go by so fast? Okay, maybe not the school day or your shift at work—but the rest of your time, like your free time—how much of it seems to just disappear before you know it? What if you were more intentional with your time? More specifically, what if you spent time each week pausing, reflecting and acknowledging what God has done for you and everyone else the rest of the week? What if you took time to stop, rest and realize that no matter how much you thought you were in control of every minute, He was really in control all along?
Session Five: Unto Others
Bottom Line: God places value on each person, and desires for everyone to be free.
The final six commandments illustrate a key truth about God—He cares a great deal about how we treat each other. In fact, these commandments were so revolutionary at the time because they showed that everyone had worth and value. God gave us these laws, not as some type of admissions test into heaven, but as instructions on how to live and be free in Him. He knows that not only is our relationship with Him important, but so are the relationships He has placed in our lives.