October 6, 2023

Ten Tests of Our Spiritual Life in God's Kingdom (Proper 27 Year A)

Baptism, like tenancy has obligations. The Parable is a warning that we are sometimes tempted to rebel against God and refuse to ‘pay the rent’. What is this ‘rent’? In our Baptism we promise ‘to continue in the Apostles teaching, in the fellowship and in the breaking of bread’ – to love and honour God. Moses explains the Ten Commandments by telling the people “God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” (Ex. 20.20) The ten tests of our love of God are:


1. Have you recognized or given honour to other gods?

God describes himself as a ‘jealous god’: 

·       Do we love God above all else and exclusively?

·       The other Commandments test our love and fear of God 

·       These tests help us examine our life, prepare for Confession, grow spiritually, and remain in the Kingdom


2. Have you put anything before your love of God?

In our time idolatry is love of money, power, sex, sports, entertainers, materialism and work before the love of God. 


3. Have you honoured God in your speech?

This is a very subtle test of what is really in our heart:

·      Do we stray into remarks that fail to honour God or use the name of God in a frivolous manner? 

·      I am very aware of the awesome responsibility when I say “I speak to you in the Name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit”


4. Have you loved God enough to set aside a whole day for rest and reflection each week?

Do we love God enough to get all our work done on the six days before the Sabbath?


5. Have you honoured your parents as part of God’s order?

For some people honouring parents is a hard test.

·       Do we put what God desires ahead of our own comfort?

·       Does not mean we have to like or obey them blindly. 

·       We are only required torespect their placein God’s order of creation as the ones who gave us life.


6. Have you respected the lives of other people?

None of us have murdered someone physically. 

     May all be guilty of anger, hate or ‘murder in the heart’  

     Murder includes to gossip and destructive acts and words that can murder a person’s self-confidence or reputation. 


7. Have you been loyal to your spouse?

·       The marriage relationship joins two people together spiritually in a union with God in the work of creation: 

·       It is to be a self-sacrificial, holy, loyal, vulnerable and trusting relationship. 

·       Adultery and adultery in the heart is a sign that this inner spiritual relationship of love and trust has broken down – and a failure to love God and neighbour self-sacrificially


8. Have you respected the property of others?

Stealing is a failure to love the other person self-sacrifically 

·       Theft destroys the spiritual order of trust and is a sign we do not love or fear God.


9. Have you told a lie or deceived anyone?

We tend to forget that God and His kingdom is a holy place.

·       Lies, deception and injustice are unholy failures to love God and our neighbour self-sacrificially

·       Sinful words, actions and thoughts pollute our soul, break the Covenant and keep us out of the Kingdom


10.  Have you wanted something that belongs to another?

‘Covetousness’means wanting something that belongs to another person. 

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