The Commandments in the Lord’s Prayer: A Heart Condition
From the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry here on Earth, he went to great lengths to make it clear to whoever was listening, (Jew and gentile alike) that what God wants from us is our hearts. Throughout the Old Testament, He makes it known to Israel that a hardened heart will turn them away from God. As God allowed nations to come against Israel it was always because they had turned their hearts away from Him as they sought after other gods, practiced idolatry, engaged in all kinds of activity that clearly violated the Law as given to them by God Himself. In Deuteronomy 30:14 God says, “But the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.” In verse 17 God makes it clear, “But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish.” Even from the very beginning of man God made it clear to Adam in the first command ever given in Genesis 1:17 “but of the tree of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” that from Adam’s heart he would have to trust in and obey God. Satan knew that if he could work on Adam and Eve and within their hearts get them to put their curiosity ahead of God’s Law and break their trust in Gods’ spoken Word alone, they would ultimately fail. Prior to the flood, God gives His clear reason for destroying man from the earth in Genesis 6:5 “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
In giving the Ten Commandments as the law of our hearts, God made an easy way for Israel as well as us today to check our hearts. I refer to the Commandments like a thermometer. A thermometer shows us that we have a fever just as the Commandments show us that we are sinners. A thermometer does not cure our fever. The Commandments do not take away our sin, but rather point out the fact that if our hearts are not inline with Gods Word we will not be in His will but separated from Him through sin. In Matthew 5:17 Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” He then continues to explain the Law as a matter of the heart. In verse 21 he says, “you shall not murder” but in verse 22 explains “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” Again in verse 27 he says, “You shall not commit adultery, but I say to you whoever looks at a women to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Throughout chapters 5 and 6 Jesus teaches lesson after lesson that it is our hearts that are the problem, not our outward appearances.
To drive this point home, Jesus gives us a prayer that I believe shows us how each segment of the Law is pointing to the fact that it is our heart that is the issue. When doing a side-by-side comparison of the Lords Prayer to the Ten Commandments, I believe that you will see how he makes this clear. The following table includes the Law compared to the Lords Prayer with small narratives to explain how I believe Jesus was trying to teach us:
There is only one God, not Allah, Buddha, Mohammad, Baal, etc. We are not to put anything before him. Anything that comes in our life before God can be a god before him. He does not want to be the first god in line ahead of our other gods either because He is our only God. If we desire to be lead by anything other than our desire to live the life that God has in store for us, we will seek other gods to fill those desires.
These are the physical and tangible things that we create for ourselves that become our gods so that they will serve us. We are to put our faith in God and Him alone as we recognize that He is our creator and sustainer who is in heaven. We often want to make for ourselves a self-image of who we think we are or want to be. Our hearts desire is to serve ourselves here on earth. Jesus points us to heaven. Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Recognize that he is holy and acting accordingly. We are not to diminish the sovereignty of God. It is amazing how when we hurt ourselves when working with tools, or find ourselves getting angry with others for something they did, we waste no time using the LORDs’ name in vain. Why don’t people yell, Oh Buddha or d#*it that Mohammad. It is because we all know in our hearts that it is God we want to blame everything that goes wrong on.
God gave us the example that rest is needed as a practical example. He also reminds us that we are to labor and not slumber. We will get our rest at the appropriate time. He promises us eternal rest from our life’s labor here on earth as we await His return and the establishment of His kingdom here on earth.
As our father in heaven, He has given to us everything that we need. He has also given us the example of marriage for parents to function as one and train up their children just as he has given us the example of being his bride. We as parents are to live Godly lives as defined by His word which is His will on this earth. By obeying His word and living holy lives, we will set the example for our children as well as those around us. In the same way, he set for us His example as His children when he came down to earth and gave his life for us. This is how we know His will for our lives. Again, often our hearts desire is to live the life that we see that everyone else has here on earth, not the life of sacrifice for others.
Our labor should be for his glory as He has provided for us through our God given skills and talents. He has promised us that he will provide for all of our needs and is faithful to that promise. Our daily bread is not only physical; it also includes our communion relationship with Jesus. He wants us to feed on His word daily and have a two-way relationship with Him. We are to eat from the bread of life.
We are all sinners that require forgiveness and a redeemer. Jesus is our redeemer through the shedding of his blood for our sins. We are not to take life physically or from our hearts. Jesus requires us to be forgivers of those who have intended or committed sins against us. We are not to carry grudges against others nor cause others to feel guilty in our presence.
These are matters of the heart. Jesus preached that if we think about committing adultery or lust after others in our hearts, then we have committed these sins already. He knows our human nature will cause us to be tempted and that Satan will use this to lure us away from living a holy life if we allow it.
As Satan stands to accuse us of our sins, we would easily do the same against our neighbor, co-workers or even family if we thought that it would protect us or benefit us even to the point of lying. We are required to give a good testimony and bear a true witness as salt and light in a dark world. It is far easier to gossip to lift your self-image and demean others than it is to humble yourself in the presence of others and give the glory to God.
It is so easy for us to desire anything and everything that everyone else has. Marketers know this and prey on our desire to have it all. For whatever reason, it always seems that someone else has it better than us, and we desire to have that thing, job, car, house, family, ability, talent or whatever. It is no coincidence that we have this idea that we can have all that our heart desires. It is only deception that causes us to be tempted to do anything to fulfill our hearts desire. God is in control and it is His kingdom, not a democracy. We do not get to take a vote on how we are to live or take a poll to get the most recent politically correct opinion on how we should live because everyone else does. We are to live according to His will in our lives and according to His word so that we may live receiving His blessings.
In conclusion, Jesus often pointed out to the Pharisees and Sadducees that they should have read God’s Word and explained to the people plainly the difference between the Law and the peoples’ responsibility to keep the Law in their hearts through holy living as a people set apart. As the Body of Christ, we now have the awesome privilege and the responsibility to live holy lives set apart from the world in a way that will make the world see Jesus in our lives by our actions and words. What is in our heart is often what comes out of our mouths. Just like trying to stuff toothpaste back into the tube, once the words of our hearts are out of our mouths, we cannot take them and put them back. If we have repentive hearts and recognize our need for our Savior daily, we will have thankful hearts and our lives will be lived accordingly.
Written By: Gerry McGovern