Exploring the Ten Commandments

“‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.’” (Matthew 11:28)

Following in the footsteps of Christ certainly isn’t the easiest thing to do in the face of all of the distractions and evils in the world today, but it’s easy in the sense that God told us exactly how to live from the beginning with the Ten Commandments. The last time you might have reviewed the Ten Commandments could have been as long ago as elementary school or high school. It’s time for an update, a refresher, and some practical ways to live them out.

Recently on The Inner Life, Josh began a discussion with Fr. Matthew Spencer about living free from sin and living God’s law in our lives on a daily basis according to the Ten Commandments.

Josh and Fr. Matthew began by explaining the significance of how God gave the Commandments to Moses, specifically his traveling to Sinai and the multiple days he spent with the Lord. These edicts are more than rules to be obeyed. They are indicative of the ways we can grow spiritually closer to God, just as Moses grew physically closer to God on Mt. Sinai. They are also a symbol of freedom from ties to their masters, whether that be literal masters like the Egyptians or a metaphorical master like materialism or pride.

Josh continued this thought by expressing how the Ten Commandments also stood for another virtue: order. Even when discussing vices and sins in scripture, they are referred to as “disordered” or perversions or distortions. Order is the base of God’s creation because everything He has made is good.

Fr. Matthew compared our relationship with God to a married couple. When a couple is together and are considering marriage, they understand that once they enter into marriage, the relationship changes. Each spouse is asked to undertake new responsibilities, new commands, and new acts of service and they understand that before they get married. Just as married life is the fulfillment of a romantic relationship, our entrance into obedience to God is the fulfillment of our spiritual life and we shouldn’t be surprised by that.

Josh and Fr. Matthew then discussed the first three Commandments: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall not have other gods beside me.” (Exodus 20:2-3) Josh posited that the reason God presented this as the first directive was that it must have some significance to be given such priority. Fr. Matthew agreed, saying that many times, people who consider idols and false gods conjure up images of golden calves or pagan statues. That is not the only form false gods can take.

To some extent, all of us put something(s) in our lives before God. That’s what is meant by “other gods”. Depending on where we’re at, our age, our career, our family life, we need to take a step back and identify the things that we are worshipping. For example, a lot of young people consider human evaluation and popularity to be the most important aspect of their life at a given time. They sacrifice their morals, their virtues, or their ambitions in order to fit in or be considered “normal”. They are worshipping at the altar of human respect.

The second Commandment directs us to avoid using the Lord’s name in vain. This might be the Commandment that is the most disregarded and disobeyed on a regular basis. Even devout Catholics and Christians have fallen into the bad habit of casually using God’s name to express their emotions or feelings, most often in negative contexts. Josh pointed out that in the most literal sense, this casual expression of God’s name is technically blasphemy. We have to recover this sense of reverence and piety for God and his name if we want to truly be able to say we’re putting God first.

The third Commandment tells us to keep the Lord’s Day (or the Sabbath) holy. In other words, we are required to keep the day holy by attending Mass and refraining from conducting any work that is deemed unnecessary. Josh led the conversation by pointing out that many people interpret the third Commandment as a chore and once it’s out of the way, we can get on with our week. Rather, we should take the opportunity to refresh and renew our commitment to the Lord each Sunday and allow him to join us on our journey through the week. Treating the Sabbath as a chore shows just how wrapped up we are in the world, but by sacrificing our desire to work all the time, we can recognize our faults and return to Our Lord.

Listen to the full segment below:

The Ten Commandments – Day One

Tune in to The Inner Life weekdays at 11am CT

John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at relevantradio.com and on the Relevant Radio® app.