Call Them “The Ten Freedoms”
Bible Reading: Exodus 20:1-17
I lavish my love on those who love me and obey my commands. Exodus 20:6
Herman the crab stormed across the ocean floor and under the family rock. “I want to be free!” he screamed. “I don’t see how you can expect me to wear this stupid shell twenty-four hours a day. It’s confining. It’s cramped.”
His father, Fred, placed a claw on Herman’s shoulder. Herman rolled his eyes. “Son,” he said, “let me tell you a story.”
“Dad, not another—”
“It’s about Harold the human,” Fred continued. “Harold insisted on going barefoot to school. He complained that his shoes were too confining. Finally, his mother gave in to him. Harold skipped out of the house—and stepped on a broken soda bottle. His foot required twenty stitches, and some other guy got his spot on the football team.”
“That’s a dumb story, Dad,” Herman said.
“Maybe, Son, but the point is this: Every crab has felt life would be a lot better if he could wiggle free from the shell. Well, your time will come soon.” The young crab looked surprised. “That’s right. It’s called molting, and all crabs do it as they grow up. But when that happens, you will be in more danger than at any other time in your life. Until your new shell hardens like the one you have now, you have to be more careful than usual. Without this shell, you’ll be less free—not more.”
“That’s weird, Dad,” Herman said. “Some things seem to limit freedom, but really they make greater freedom possible, right?”
Fred draped his claw over Herman’s back. “How did you get so smart, Son?”
Some people think the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus rob us of freedom. They see God’s rules as confining, like Herman viewed his shell. Actually, though, God’s directions bring true freedom to those who follow them. For example, obeying the fifth commandment, “Honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12), brings the promise of living long and well with God’s blessings.
All through the Bible we find that God’s commands give us incredible freedom if we respond to them. Try this test: Pick any commandment from God, and you’re sure to think of benefits that come to you and other people as a result of living within God’s wise boundaries.
TALK: Do you sometimes feel confined and restricted as a Christian? How is that just the opposite of how God wants you to feel?
PRAY: Father, thank you that your commandments give us freedom.
ACT: Do you have a hard time obeying any of God’s commands? Pick a command that seems tough to obey and list all the benefits God provides you when you obey that command.