God’s Way Is Best
September 4, 2021
“The story is told of a European who was always complaining about his lack of freedom. He kept saying, ‘Someday I will go to America, the land of the free.’ At last the day came when he was on his way to America, the land of his dreams. As he sailed into New York harbor and saw the Statue of Liberty, he was thrilled. He cried out, ‘I’m free at last, free at last.’
“As soon as he got off the boat, he walked down the street, right up to a perfect stranger, and punched him in the nose. It wasn’t long until a policeman arrested him. The European protested, saying, ‘This is a land of freedom; I can do as I please.’ But the man with the sore nose said to him, ‘Mister, you may be free, but don’t you forget that your freedom ends where my nose begins.’
“Why are laws necessary? God knows that if there were no laws, we would live in a universe of anarchy, and nobody would be truly happy. Any liberty that infringes on the rights of others is not true liberty” (Henry Feyerabend, Slices of Life [Oshawa, Ont.: Maracle Press Limited, 1995]). By following God, we can have true freedom. Freedom from sin and the control of Satan.
God’s laws secure our freedom and are laws of love—love for Him and love for others.
Memory Text: “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hand all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40, NKJV).
Our Beliefs, no. 19, The Law of God: “The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God’s love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 49-52
Read Matthew 20:26-28.
Kevin wants to feel included in school activities at his new school. He doesn’t necessarily want to become really popular, just accepted and a part of things. Sports aren’t his thing, so he takes his parents’ advice to try to get involved in student government. But, of course, all the important positions are taken by popular kids, whether they can do the jobs well or not. What is open to him, he is told, is a “position” as chair of the cleanup committee for the school picnic.
Should Kevin agree to do it? What will that say about him to his new schoolmates? Will he ever be seen as anything other than a “servant”? What advice would you give Kevin before he makes his decision?
Log on to www.guidemagazine.org/rtf to post your responses. Be upfront and honest. Say what you think.
Read Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 22:35-40; John 14:15
God’s law was given that human beings might know how to relate to God and to others. The first four commandments deal with our relationship to God. The last six commandments are about our relationships with each other. God is a God of love, and the Ten Commandments help us to understand how to show our love to God and to others.
How do you see the relationship between Exodus 20 and Matthew 22?
How do these commandments shape your life?
Unscramble the mixed-up words and then fill in the blanks to be able to read the following verse from the New King James Version.
“The law of the Lord is tcefrep, gnitrevnoc the soul; the ynomitset of the Lord is erus, making esiw the simple; the setutats of the Lord are thgir, gniciojer the heart; the tnemdnammoc of the Lord is erup, gninethgilne the seye; the raef of the Lord is naelc, gnirudne forever; the stnemgduj of the Lord are eurt and suoethgir altogether. More to be derised are they than dlog, yea, than much fine gold; reteews also than yenoh and the honeycomb Moreover by them Your servant is denraw, and in gnipeek them there is great drawer” (mlasP 19:7-11, NKJV).
“The law of the Lord is, the soul; the of the Lord is, making the simple; the of the Lord are, the heart; the of the Lord is, the; the of the Lord is, forever; the of the Lord are and altogether. More to be are they than, yea, than much fine gold; also than and the honeycomb Moreover by them Your servant is, and in them there is great” ( 19:7-11, NKJV).
Read 1 John 5:3.
Everything about God’s kingdom is about selflessness. That is sometimes a hard concept to really understand. But self-centeredness is exactly what Satan and his kingdom are all about. At this time in your life as you are discovering who you are, God wants you to be aware of His place in your life and to be aware of the needs of others around you. God would like you to place Him and others before yourself.
You are a special, unique, and valuable child of God. One of a kind. And yet the very grace and power that have made you that way are based on the law of selfless love. When you read the commandments that He asks us to obey if we love Him, you find that every one of them is about selflessly loving God, and then selflessly reflecting His love to others. Success in God’s kingdom is the opposite of success in the kingdom of this world.
To live this way in the middle of Satan’s kingdom takes the bravest kind of person that there is. Remember, too, that selflessness does not mean you have no self. It means to submit your natural self to Christ and allow Him to replace it with a new self that reflects His character (Ephesians 4:22-24).
Match the verses to the correct references. The Bible passages are from the New King James Version.
1 Kings 2:3
1 John 2:3
1 John 5:3
|1||“. . . we know Him, if we keep His commandments.”|
|2||“. . . here are those who keep the commandments of God . . .”|
|3||“. . . to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies . . .”|
|4||“. . . I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled . . .”|
|5||“. . .’ You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your souls, and with all your mind.’ . . . ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ . . .”|
|6||“. . . many who are first will be last . . .”|
|7||“ . . . If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”|
|8||“. . . this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments . . .”|
Read Ephesians 6:10-12.
Review the memory text.
As a citizen of God’s kingdom, you have access to a much bigger perspective than those whose allegiance is to the kingdom of this world.
You can look at things from the big picture of God’s selfless love, the love that is the law of the entire universe. Living in that kingdom means that everything you do is in reference to God’s great commandments:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37, 39, NIV).
That is the way to success in God’s kingdom. The successful kingdom agent would never think of unloving acts such as using God’s name lightly, making a false accusation against someone else, or disrespecting their parents.
But following God is completely opposite to the way the world is. When we follow Jesus, we are empowered by His unselfish grace to live according to His plan of love. Living a life of unselfish love in a self-centered world is a great responsibility. Are you up to the challenge?
Read Exodus 20:1-17.
This week, take the time to look at God’s Ten Commandments in the light of living a life of unselfish love. Ask for the Spirit’s power to live that way this week and then observe yourself doing it.
This week . . .