The Tailored Ten Commandments

About six years ago I was in college and was struggling in making God and his teachings a more personal matter of the heart. I grew up with great teaching and understanding of His word, but I had an awakening of sorts when I was faced with some of the first real battles of my walk with Christ. 

At one point I was juggling school, 3 part-time jobs, too many extracurricular activities and some personal challenges in developing godly relationships. So one day I sat down with God and he helped me tailor His commandments to my individual needs and struggles.

Even now, six years later, I want to be intentional about not letting the past repeat itself. So I decided to revisit, take an audit and share my tailored Ten Commandments 2.0.  

1. You shall have no other gods before Me.

Pretty straightforward. A god is something you dedicate your time and resources to pleasing in order to receive some type of gain or reward. Thinking of it this way, our jobs, school, our ambitions and even relationships can push God to the back burner. We are prioritizing ourselves over God. If you find yourself seeking approval more in these areas than focusing on pleasing Him, then this commandment should be your focus.

2. You shall not make idols.

Well, how about that segway? Just as mentioned above, it's so easy for us to prioritize and idolize people and dreams more than our true source of strength. Be mindful of these and be sure to keep God at the center of your attention.

3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

Not just in the literal sense that we used to get fussed at all the time for as kids, but also in what we attribute to God. I really believe He's been trying to get out of the brokerage business for a while, but we keep putting Him back in it. "God blessed me with a new _____ or _____." (We've all heard it enough to fill in the blanks.) These types statements tend to limit what He can really do in our lives.

Now, don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with making sound investments. We just need to give God more credit than getting a new tangible item when He has blessed us with much more. Instead, attribute the sound mind, Godly focus and the hard work ethic as what God gave you to use in your life and find favor in His sight. God may have even blessed the lender to give you a great deal or better-than-expected rates, but you still made the choice to purchase or take out a loan for it.

God has actually relinquished to us many of the things we attribute to Him through giving us a willpower to make decisions. He still trusts us enough to look to Him for guidance, but let's get back to honoring Him for His most important gift-- salvation. 

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

I'm not going to debate on what day the Sabbath is. I know what scripture says and I know what I believe. Whether you attend church on Saturday, Sunday or spend 3 hrs and 25 minutes every day of the week (24 hrs total) offends me none. The point is, officially dedicate/set aside and protect your time with God. 

I failed miserably at this in my college years. I over-committed myself to everything but God. I mentioned in the beginning all that was on my plate. The irony is I kept everything on my calendar and was intentional about managing my time commitments. However, in all that "organization," I completely neglected to physically block off time with God.

Just as we do for our daily lives, we should literally restructure our entire calendars around Him and pencil everyone/thing.

5. Honor your father and your mother.

Natural, spiritual and surrogate, we all have people who've been sent (or been sought out) to nurture, guide or help us become more disciplined and purpose driven. These figures don't always have to be paternal or maternal. They can be personal or professional mentors, leaders, friends or strangers.

Respect them. Remember them. Honor them. Its through this that we are groomed to interact with our Heavenly Father and mentor.  

6. You shall not murder.

Of course let's not kill each other. We know that evilness, rage and anger come from selfishness and lack of self control, but remember there are other ways to kill people.

If "death and life are in the power of the tounge" then ours words can be spiritually murderous. We can kill confidence, aspirations and dreams in others with our negativity and lack of support. Be mindful of what you say about other people and to other people about their circumstances.

My litmus test to avoid falling into this pitfall? I ask myself, "Am I discussing this in order to help find a solution to their problem?" If not, then their really is no need for me to discuss the matter at all. 

7. You shall not commit adultery.  

Jesus is bae (before anything/one else). Don't play Him.

Many of us commit adultery against God and don't acknowledge it. If we focus on being faithful to Him first, then we won't run into near as many of the other relationship issues that lead to unfaithfulness. 

[As a bonus, I'll share something my mother shared with me around the time God was walking me through these commandments. We were talking about love and all forms of relationships and dealing with being hurt:

"When people hurt us (whether emotionally through infidelity, spirituality or naturally) we automatically think 'How could they do this to me?' What we miss is that if we first think of ourselves as children of God, then that person committed an offense against God first. Take your hurt feelings out of the picture for a second and realize they need spiritual help and guidance. Then you can work through your feelings."]

8. You shall not steal.

From man nor God and that's possessions, affections and time.

Think about it this way: what/who's "robbing" you of your time with and affections towards God? Who's time are you interrupting? It's not just belongings that we can steal from one another. We can distract, deter or even destroy (kill) others and the divine purpose and mission we all have to build His kingdom. 

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Lies. Untruths. "Alternative facts." All of them are "bearing false witness against" people. This also means accusing other people of wrongdoings. We can be quick to blame before taking responsibility for our actions. It's a tough pill to swallow but we've all been in the wrong before and we'll continue to be in the wrong if we refuse to address and correct it.

I'll leave that right there. 

10. You shall not covet. 

"But I be wanting errthang. I've had these thoughts and still have these thoughts from time to time. I've thought, "I want her career, her lifestyle AND her baby's fruit snacks." (What?! I was hungry and distracted at a conference.) 

Seriously though, it's tough to see people doing well and not want the same for ourselves. These thought actually aren't covetous though. It's when we want things for ourselves at the expense of others that makes us covetous.

Next time you see someone with something you think you want for yourself, just stop and first thank God that He's allowed them to obtain it. Then you can add it to your vision board as a possibility. Keeping in mind that God still knows what's best for us, He's still pleased when He sees our hearts desiring things that would benefit His kingdom. 

Your turn!

All too often we use God's word against (and as a yardstick to compare ourselves to) others. Curatoring my individual commandments helped me focus on how I could improve my relationship with Christ. So here's a challenge for you: 

Take sometime each day this week and think through each of these commandments. You can use mine, but I encourage you to think about what each means in your life. (Remember, it's about getting personal with God.) Write down how each commandment applies to you and keep it in a place where you can return to it as a reminder of how God sees you and wants to help you get to know Him better. Drop a few in the comments and share! I'd love to hear how this applies to your walk.