Summary: First in a series on the Ten Commandments, focusing on the necessary priority of God in our lives.
Rule #1: God Is Number One!
By Pastor Scott Heine
Estrella Community Church · Goodyear, AZ
June 4, 2000
If you could rate your life on a scale of 1 to 10 today, what rating would you give it? I’m talking about an overall rating — one that takes all aspects of your life into account: your understanding of who you are, your relationships, your enjoyment with life, your sense of satisfaction. And don’t just rate your life according to your current circumstances — all of us go through good and bad times. Think more about the overall picture — who you are, how you are doing, how you are thinking, how you are feeling, how you are relating, etc.
Take a second and think about it. Don’t just grab a number. I’m serious; how would you rate your life on a scale from 1 to 10?
Now think about this: What would it take to make sure that your life was a “perfect ten?” Are there things that would have to change? Are there priorities that would need to be shifted around? Are there habits that would need to be broken, or habits that would need to be developed? What about relationships — are there people or principles that would need to be considered differently? I know that none of us can really go back in time and change history, so let’s not get stuck on what has happened in the past. Let’s look at what the future holds. What would it take for your life to be a “perfect ten?”
Well, I’m sure that it won’t surprise you to learn that God has some idea on that subject. After all, he created life. He is omniscient — he knows absolutely everything. And he is all-wise — he knows how to put his knowledge to use the right way. And he even wrote the book on life (we call it “the Bible” J). Even Jesus described God’s desire in John 10:10 by saying,
“…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
But what is God’s strategy for living life as a “perfect ten?” Well, Jesus summed up all of the Bible in just two sentences. In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus said,
37 … “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
So, if you want the quick “Reader’s Digest” version of the Bible — if you have any question about God’s plans for you, if you want to know what the architect of life said about how you should build your life, if you want to impress your friends at parties by saying that you know what the Bible is all about — then remember these two central facts: love God and love others. Say them with me: J love God and love others. If you can do those two things every moment of every day of your life, your life will be a “perfect ten” for sure.
But you might ask, “How do I do that? What does it mean to love God and love others? Where do I start?” And to find the answer to that question, we have to go back a long way in history. Because nearly 3,500 years ago, God expanded upon these two points in tremendous detail by giving the nation of Israel what the Bible calls “the Law.” If you want to know what that’s all about in great detail, read the first 5 books of the Bible — they’re all written by a guy you may have heard of, who goes by the name of “Moses.”
But God knows that you and I are not the brightest bulbs in the universe — we have trouble remembering where we left our car keys, much less 5 books full of history, poetry, and religious legislation. So even way back then, when God provided his expectations of his people, he gave a very concise summary of how to live life as a “perfect ten.” We call that summary “the Ten Commandments.”
It’s too bad that there are some segments of our society that would like to remove all public reminders of the Ten Commandments. After all, our founding fathers were very much sold on the principles of those instructions — even those who otherwise had some areas of doubt when it comes to God. But they couldn’t deny the obvious — the Ten Commandments are powerful principles for living. They’re a strategy for living life to the fullest, and finding not only a sense of peace but also of incredible security, justice, and hope. (And I can promise you one thing — any public official or lobbyist who gets upset about public reminders of the Ten Commandments is not living life at a “perfect ten!”)