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The Ten Commandments for a Successful Year

August 22, 2007

We are all familiar with The Ten Commandments given by God to Moses. These were delivered to the people of God as rules to live by. The original commandments included instructions on how to treat God, ourselves, and others. As we begin a new year at Reinhardt College, I invite you to use these ten principles to guide you in the year ahead.

1. Stay connected to God. (Deuteronomy 6:5) Make God the top priority in your busy life. Priorities are important. Set your priorities for the year and live by them. Remember what is most important!

2. Remember that you are a child of God and act like it. (1 John 3:1) As a teenager, every time I left the house, right before I shut the door, my mother would say "Remember who you are." She always reminded me that I am a child of God before I am anything else. We are a lot of things to a lot of different people: daughter/son, sister/brother, mother/father, student/ teacher, friend, etc. Although these roles are important, nothing is more important than being a child of God.

3. Laugh often. (Ecclesiastes 3:4) Living a Godly life doesn't have to be bleak and boring. Laughter is the closest thing that we get to this side of heaven. God likes it when we laugh because it connects us with one another. Never underestimate the power of a sense of humor. It will get us through the most difficult times.

4. Live in community. (John 15:15) When Jesus came to earth, he didn't isolate himself from the rest of the world; rather, he surrounded himself with people. He carefully selected those that he would allow close to him. Likewise, we should not live life alone, but should seek/ build a supportive network of friends to walk with us in the ups and downs that is life.

5. Respect and honor others. (Deuteronomy 5:16) Although we are in charge of ourselves, no one is self-made. God does not want us to trample on others in order to get what we want. We need to recognize the child of God in others as well (parents, teachers, co-workers, etc). By treating each other this way, we also respect and honor God.

6. Take time to rest. (Exodus 20:11) This won't be easy, but it is important. If we don't give ourselves some downtime, we will not make it through the year. This includes more than sleeping. We need to regularly depart from all the things (assignments, jobs, chores, etc.) that fill our days as usual and make time for quiet and prayer.

7. Take responsibility for your actions. (Titus 2:7) The reality of adulthood is responsibility. Each one of us must take responsibility for our lives. Despite our previous circumstances, as unpleasant as they might be, we must take charge of our lives. Too many people spend their lives blaming others for their circumstances and never move beyond blame. Don't be that person. From wherever you are, take charge of you.

8. Treat your body with respect. (1 Corinthians 6:19) Although our flesh and bones are only temporary, God told us to take care of them. This means we shouldn't over eat, binge drink, and have casual sex. Treating our body as God's temple means we need to make sure what we do with it honors God.

9. Live in love. (Ephesians 5:1-2) Love should be the guiding principle in all that we do. Jesus instructed us above all else to love God and our neighbor as our self. By doing these two things, the rest of life will work itself out. Living in love isn't easy; it takes a life time to accomplish. Nevertheless, it's the only way to truly live!

10. Chose God not because you have to, but because you want to. (Joshua 24:15) God is available to us at all times and in all places. God wants us to want Him, but unfortunately we get too caught up in our own lives to notice or care. Making the decision to choose God is the most important decision that we will ever make. It is not a one time decision, we make it everyday.