Managing Behavioral Landmines

God’s commands are designed to help us live healthy and fruitful lives. He is actually not a Cosmic Killjoy. He’s trying to guide us safely through behavioral minefields. 

The big bold assumption here is that the Bible is true and that in its entirety as the Old and New Testament Scriptures everything in it is exactly as claimed: the authoritative Word of God:

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

Without this Biblical foundation, the world does not make logical sense as a statistically impossible, random and spontaneous burst of natural, material matter.

If you don’t know this Truth or have doubts, questions, or are fuzzy on the facts, then read the Bible yourself and let the powerful words of this life-giving text have its way with you in your sincere search for answers, knowledge and understanding.

That being said, we have to confront what to many are the real or apparently stifling and restrictive rules and commandments of God.

Are these rules really for us? Are they for others only (the Hebrews)? Are they obsolete and outdated? Knowledge of them is one thing, do we really have to obey them?

And to what end? To make God happy? Why? What’s the big deal?

Seems like God is actually trying to keep us from being free and having fun. Like God really is a Cosmic Killjoy.

Maneuvering Though Minefields
God’s commands are designed to help us live healthy and fruitful lives. He is actually not a Cosmic Killjoy. God is trying to guide us safely through behavioral minefields.

What minefields?

The emotional, spiritual, and social minefields that are poised to destroy any and all of us in this broken world. God has laid out a moral code as guidance for all families, societies, and ourselves that, when followed and obeyed, lead to a better and more productive life.

Moral Code: The Big Ones
Here’s a review of some of the big ones which are timeless, unchanging and establish a profound human moral foundation. They are often referred to as the “Ten Commandments” found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5.

Highlighted below are those four that reflect a right and healthy perspective toward God and those six that reflect a right and healthy perspective toward our relationships. Also highlighted is the appropriate landmine:

1. Have No Other Gods I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” God-Focused – There is only one True God. Landmine – Do not miss this one, the fundamental Truth is that God is the One True God. 

2. Don’t Worship Idols“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” God-Focused – Do not bow down or worship any man-made image or idol. Landmine – God is not to be substituted with any imitation. Anything less than full worship and respect is outright disobedience. 

3. Don’t Swear by God’s Name“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” God-Focused – He’s serious. Do not take the Lord’s name in vain. Landmine – God is to be held in high esteem, even His name is not to be taken lightly or frivolously. 

4. Honor the Sabbath Day“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.” God-Focused – Six days are for work; one day is a Sabbath rest to honor God. Landmine – God set a model for us, even at the time of Creation. The Sabbath is one day to worship God and remember what He has done. 

5. Respect your Father and Mother“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Relationship-Focused – Healthy families respect the elder parents, the Father and Mother. Landmine Broken families miss this blessing for young and old. 

6. Do Not Murder“You shall not murder.” Relationship-Focused – An obvious call against undeserved physical violence. Landmine – Murder destroys lives of all parties. This is not about capital punishment. There are laws to deal with crime and punishment. . 

7. Do Not Commit Adultery“You shall not commit adultery.” Relationship-Focused – Adultery violates the God-ordained marital covenant. Landmine – This violation destroys trust and marital bonds bringing shame and pain to all involved and impacting families for generations. 

8. Do Not Steal“Do not steal.” Relationship-Focused – Stealing robs the victim and the robber with fear and potential loss of freedom, finances and property. Landmine – Think of the reduced cost to society if Man honored this God-stated command.

9. Do Not Lie Against Your Neighbor“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” Relationship-Focused – We should be honest and true in all of our testimony with each other. Landmine Lying about another person in any context or proceeding can lead to harm and destruction of reputations and lives. 

10. Do Not Envy or Covet“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Relationship-Focused – Don’t compare yourself to others so that you desire what they have. Landmine – Relationships are damaged overtly or subtly due to envy and coveting what others have and you lack. 

Again, be clear that the entire set of Mosaic Laws (handed down by God to Moses to receive and document for the budding nation of Israel) are applied specifically to the Israelites in that time and place roughly 1,500 years before the birth of Christ.

Beyond the Ten Commandments, in Deuteronomy and Leviticus in great detail, are numerous (over 600) other specific Hebrew ceremonial laws (burnt sacrifice and worship practices) as well as circumstantial case laws that apply the moral principles of the Ten Commandments to particular situational issues that were for the ancient nation of Israel alone.

These laws do not apply today to the Christian believer, as even 1st century Jewish Christians were “released from the Law” (Romans 7:6). So while Christians are under the New Covenant, or Law of Jesus Christ which replaces the Old Covenant, we still have wise Old Testament Biblical guidelines to help us maneuver through life and avoid destructive landmines.

Are you avoiding the emotional, spiritual, and social minefields of life? How?
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:1-2

Categories: Abundant Living, Devotion, Israel, Old Testament, Purpose, Theology

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