On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . ten lords a-leaping.
This is probably the easiest gift to understand. As lords were judges and in charge of the law, this code for the Ten Commandments was fairly straightforward to Christians. While the 10 commandments are indeed “law” because they tell us what to do, they are also Gospel-motivated because like the 9 virtues mentioned yesterday, they show the things which a Christian desires to do out of love for God.
Perhaps you learned how the 10 commandments can be divided into 2 sections.
Commandments 1-3 talk about and guide our relationship with God. The First Commandment teaches us about setting our priorities and making sure that God always has first place in our lives in our love and trust. The Second Commandment teaches us about the use of our speech and how God’s name should be used in our speech. We are not to use God’s name to curse, swear or lie. Instead, every word of our speech is to honor God and his name. The Third Commandment reminds us of the importance which the Word of God is to have in our lives. We are to regularly study it to help keep our faith strong and grow it. We are to hear it (worship) so we are reminded of what all God’s Word says to us. And we are to respect it, giving it the most important place in our lives as a reflection of our love for God.
Commandments 4-10 talk about and guide our relationships with one another. The Fourth Commandment remind us of the respect and honor we owe those who are God’s representatives in all areas of our lives – church, family (parents) and society (government and law enforcement). The Fifth Commandment reminds us of the high value we are to place on life – all life: unborn, young, old and in every situation of life. We are reminded that God is the author of life and only he or his representatives in the government can end it. The Sixth Commandment teaches us to honor the gift of sexuality which God has given to those who are married and how we are to remain pure in our thoughts, words and actions. I think we would all agree that the temptations to break this commandment are rampant in our world today. The Seventh Commandment guides us in our use of possessions – all the gifts which God has given to us and to others. Part of this is being content with what we have and not working to get or taking what others have that we might desire. The Eighth Commandment also teaches us how to use our speech as we use it toward and about other people. Just because something is true does not mean we have to share it if it is not going to speak well of someone else. Volumes could be written on this commandment because of the way in which people freely speak the worst about others instead of the best and see nothing wrong with it. The Ninth & Tenth Commandments together also guide how we view the blessings which God has given to others. These two commandments really teach contentment with what we have instead of looking over the fence and having the sinful desire to have what others have.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me the 10 Commandments to guide me every day to live a life which pleases you and gives honor to you in all I think, say and do! Amen.