My thirteen year old son is growing in leaps and bounds spiritually so that he has already begun to teach me. Last week he pointed out (as he had been studying in his youth group) that the third commandment: “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God…” Ex. 20:7 does not simply mean to proclaim OMG as so many teenagers are prone to say now a days. August told me that it is much more serious than this. It actually means to proclaim a faith in God and then ,through our lifestyles, to misrepresent him.
He went on to tell me that the commandments are listed in the order of importance so that the two preceding commandments lay the groundwork: 1) “You shall have no other Gods before me.” (Ex. 20:3) and 2) “You shall not make for yourselves an idol…” (Ex. 20:4) God wants our whole lives once we put our faith in him. Nothing else should be higher than him in our hearts, and our lifestyles should reflect this devotion.
Or as Paul so articulately states in 1 Cor. 4:2, “So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”
“So I tell you this and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the gentiles do in the futility of their thinking.” Eph. 4:17
So how do we avoid futile thinking? How can we prove faithful in this trust of grace that God has given us? I believe the answer lies in the spiritual disciplines:
“They are a banquet of graced opportunities for those desiring to live the good-that is, the godly-life. Since our enslavement occurs most often at the level of habit, it is at he level of habit that our liberation needs to begin.” (Emilie Griffin, “Wilderness Time”, p. 21)
“But the one lesson we learn from all available sources is that there is no “quick fix” for the human condition. The approach to wholeness is for humankind a process of great length and difficulty that engages all our own powers to their fullest extent over a long course of experience.” (Dallas Willard, “The Spirit of the Disciplines”, p. 70)
For more thoughts on exercising the spiritual disciplines see “A Narrow Path to Transformation”.