The Old Testament reading for this Sunday is the familiar passage from Exodus containing the 10 Commandments. I think often times we look at these commandments negatively as God telling his people, “Do this, don’t do that.” While God simply telling us either to do or not to do something is certainly a good enough reason that we should obey Him, His commandments go much deeper than just a list of rules.
One thing that has been on my mind this Lent is freedom. I want to be free from seeking fulfillment in worldly things, so that I can have a deeper relationship with God. Part of Lent is disciplining our bodies by not eating meat on Fridays and any number of other personal disciplines anyone has taken on. By denying our bodies good things like meat that it desires, it helps prepare ourselves to deny sinful desires when we are tempted.
The 10 Commandments point us to the freedom we are meant to have. While God does tell us things not to do, it is so we can be free. When God gave the Israelites the 10 Commandments, he had already freed them from actual slavery in Egypt. The Israelites knew exactly what it was like to be a slave. God freed them from the Egyptians but also wanted them to be free from sin so they could properly love and worship him. The 10 Commandments gave them the basic starting point to be free. If the Israelites disobeyed the commandments and worshipped other gods or coveted their neighbor’s goods they would no longer be free. They would be slaves to sin and to the things of this world.
By giving up unnecessary things of the world during Lent, it helps us to focus on the necessary things like our relationship with God. In my own life, I gave up several things starting January 1st and will continue these disciplines through Lent. While the things I’ve given up are good things like certain foods or other things that can be used for good, it is important to keep worldly things in the proper place and perspective in our lives. I have already realized in the last couple months how much fulfillment I sought in things of this world. By seeking freedom and not fulfillment from sin and other worldly things, our hope and prayer is to grow closer to God throughout Lent and the rest of our lives.
Word up. I am Stacy, the youth minister of this amazing group of teens. I have 4 kids of my own, 2 heaven babies and like 60 teens I consider very large children of my own.