Thief of Joy

By: Pastor Jarren Rogers

“Comparison is the thief of joy”

Theodore Roosevelt

I’m sure most all of us know the Ten Commandments. We’ve seen them tacked up in our Sunday School classes since we were kids, read about them in Scripture, and taught them to our children.

But I think that whenever we read the Ten Commandments, we tend to hurry over a few of them. Maybe we feel like they don’t apply to us or maybe we feel like we don’t struggle with them. Whatever the case, I think that there are a few commandments that we simply don’t pay much mind to.

Take Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me for example. I’m guilty of allowing my eyes to speed over this line in my Bible at one time or another.

I’m not melting down gold to make a statue of Baal or bowing down to a sculpted calf, so what do I have to worry about? Check this one off the list of Commandments that I follow.

But, I think if we all really stop and think, there are gods in our life that we are tempted to put in place of God. Maybe it’s materialism. Maybe you’re always looking to get the next and best thing. Maybe it’s money. You’re always striving and working to see those numbers in your bank account on the rise. Maybe its sex or power, your family or your kids. I think that many of us are building up idols and bowing down to them, but we fail to realize it.

God, open our eyes.

Or what about, Thou Shalt Not Murder. That seems like a pretty easy one to check off the list. But remember what Scripture says:

Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.” (1 John 3:15).

If you are holding a grudge. If you are continually angry at someone. If you haven’t forgiven, Scripture says that you are in danger of judgment. I wish I could soften the blow, but that’s simply what Scripture says.

God, open our hearts.

Or what about Thou Shalt Not Covet. Many times we think, “Well, I’m not jealous of my neighbor’s wife, or oxen so I’m good.”

But I think a covetous attitude can come in many forms. Maybe it is feeling like you are always in a coworker’s shadow. Everything that you do, it seems that they do better. Maybe it is constantly comparing yourselves to others. Other people speak better then you do, have better relationships, have more things, have better lives.

I think we can also have covetous outlooks on life. It seems like everyone else has it better than we do. Everyone is happier, content, and better off.

God, calm our souls.

The next time you are reading in the Old Testament and you find yourself in the midst of the Ten Commandments, allow God to speak to you through them. Are you truly following what he commanded?

God, help us to be better followers of you.

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