March 22

Deuteronomy 5:21 (NIV) 21"You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor's house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

Hello America! Lust will be our undoing. What God has given to another should cause you to be glad for them, not envious. Envy and selfishness are clear signals that we are walking in the flesh (our old nature). To desire to have your neighbor's possession shows you have allowed your heart to become idolatrous (putting a thing before God). What follows is theft, adultery, working on your Sabbath, and ignoring God to get what your heart has fixed itself on.

Every day commercials bombard us with things to lust after. Advertisers always imply that the possession of the thing will bring you happiness. That has some truth. Things often do bring a shallow and temporal happiness. Things never affect the genuine joy of the heart. Satan said in Genesis 3:5 (NIV), "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Satan promises way more than he delivers and never tells you the full price you will pay.

The Ten Commandments are almost doable until we get to this last one. The problem with man is "his 'wanter' is broken". We should be desiring the truth, things of God, righteousness. Instead, we set our hearts on creations, not the Creator.

Consider: Before you go after obtaining anything in life, whether a title, a possession, or a relationship, ask yourself if you expect this thing to bring you happiness. Is it a need or a lustful desire? Will the possession of this thing you seek glorify God or self?

March 22

Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV) 37Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

A study of the Old Testament laws will show that all the Law is an expanding of these two instructions. All the laws pertaining to worship and the rituals of worship were about putting God first in one's life. They looked forward to the promise of the miracle of salvation that God would make possible through the Messiah. The laws pertaining to health and justice were a practical way to express love to one's neighbor. Without the Spirit of God indwelling men, the people of Israel needed these guidelines to live as closely as possible to what the Spirit would direct them. In the details of current events, they had the prophets that declared God's specific will in given circumstances.

Now that the Spirit has been poured out, indwelling those who receive Christ, He guides us into all truth. What does it mean to love the Lord our God with our all in a given situation. The Spirit of God reveals that to us. He directs us into an expression of the love that pleases the heart of God and brings the kingdom of God into our lives and those with whom we interact. He is much more specific than the Law, and much more demanding than the 600 plus laws. There are no loopholes in love.

He shows how to express love toward our neighbor. Jesus redefined the word 'neighbor' to include anyone we come in contact with who has a need. The law may have had loopholes by which we could avoid a cost to self. The Spirit closes all those loopholes and directs us to a love like Jesus' love that lays down our life for those in need. How in tune with the Spirit's direction have you allowed your life to be? It is easy to make new laws of behavior that we suppose are based on New Testament principles and avoid the self-denying direction of the voice of the Spirit. Those who are led by the Spirit are the children of God (Romans 8:14). The only way to fulfill these two great laws is to be led of the Spirit.

Consider: What has the Spirit of God been directing me to do that I have been avoiding?