Don’t Be That Guy: The Christian Who Destroyed The Ten Commandments

ten-commandment.jpgShouting, “Freedom” with contemporary Christian music playing in the background, Michael Tate Reed hit the gas pedal of his 2016 Dodge Dart with righteous indignation. Seconds later, he and his car crashed into the Ten Commandments Monument recently installed outside the Arkansas State Capital. His victory would be short lived. Police officers at the capital witnessed the incident and quickly arrested Reed.

Sadly, this not Reed’s first rodeo. He attacked a similar statue in Oklahoma. He also regularly breathes threats of vengeance against former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump. The man has some issues.

His greatest issue is not politicians who blur the line between state and religion. His greatest issue is tied to his view of personal autonomy.

Reed believes he should have the freedom to do what he wants when he wants (all-be-it in weird, conservative, Christian short of way). Thus, he slams into monuments that offend his view of the world and spits a pictures adorning the walls of Federal Buildings.

In his defense of personal autonomy, Reed revealed the ultimate futility of his philosophy.  By fighting for ‘his’ freedom, Reed got jailed, lost social media privileges, and wrecked his car. He lost the ability to act by acting to gain freedom.

Though Reed claims to be functioning from a Christian Worldview, he is not actually following the teachings of the Bible. The very statue he destroyed comes from Exodus 20, which declares, “You shall have no other God’s before me.” God never licenses us to sin if we feel like it. The ruler of the universe tells Reed and every Christian to obey their authorities.

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those do good.

– 1 Peter 2:13-14

Reeds fight for freedom did not originate in heaven. It was birthed out of his own thinking. He claims Christianity is his world-view, but his actions align with the religion of self. He does what he thinks is best.

Sadly, he is not alone. Seventy-six percent of Christians believe “that the best way to find yourself is to look inside yourself” and ninety-one percent of Christians believe “you have to be true to yourself.” Though many Christians tap their Bible app every Sunday or crack open their Bible on Wednesday night, they actually function more like secularist than Christians. When these Christians make decisions about whether or not to divorce their spouse, about how to discipline their kids, or about how to handle an argument with a coworker, they mimic Reed. They follow the random ideas floating around in their head instead of seeing what God’s Word has to say about their lives.

As Reed has shown, such decision-making based on our personal autonomy never ends well. Often what seems like a great step towards personal freedom and fulfillment is actually a step towards chains and disappointment. As Proverbs 1:32 says, “For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them.”

The wisdom to navigate life and to find true joy and happiness is found in obeying the God of the universe.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. – Proverbs 9:10.

So what kind of Christian are you? Are you the kind that drives into monuments or the kind that fears the Lord?

The #1 Kids’ Excuse of All Time and How to Beat it!

Blog He Made Me Do It“He made me do it!” Is perhaps the number one kid excuse of all time! I mean is there a better excuse? Is there a better way to deflect responsibility for our sin than blaming our actions on someone else? “I got mad because my teacher didn’t recognize me.” I snatched a cookie because you wouldn’t let me have a snack.” I.e. I sinned because of you!

Why It Doesn’t Work

The only problem with this thinking is that it is not biblical. God never holds other people responsible for our sin. Not even parents are judged for the sins of their kids (Ezk. 18:20). God holds us responsible for our actions. Regardless of the circumstances, our actions are always just that, our actions. We don’t sin because of someone else. We don’t sin because someone triggered all our defense mechanisms with one rude comment.  As Pastor Brad Bigney said, “That button was already there – the pressure only revealed it.” (p.151). We sin because we want to, because we love something more than God! Notice what James 1:14 says, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”

Understanding The Real Problem

The very first of God’s ten commandments says, “You shall have no other God’s before me (Ex. 20:3).  To really understand how to only worship one God, we need to take a look at the very last commandment: “You shall not covet.”  These two commandments bookend the other 8 because the first one shows us what God requires of us and the last shows us how to achieve it. To worship God and God alone, we have to treasure him above all else. We can’t have idols in our heart. We can’t covet.

fall-651020_1920The reason we sin, the reason we snap when we don’t get our way is that we are coveting. We are worshiping something more than God. According to Colossians 3:5, covetousness is idolatry. Covetousness creates idols in our heart that replace God.  We look at the nude girl on the screen, we scream at our kids when they get too loud, and we rant on Facebook about our job because we are worshiping something other than God. We lust because we covet human companionship more than God. We scream because we covet a quiet house more than God. And, we rant because we love our success more than God.  Spiritual idols are not just limited to the generic category of sports, money, and fame. They are the daily things we want more than God. They are the things we sin to get or sin when we don’t get them. As Bigney says, “An idol is anything or anyone that captures our hearts, minds, and affections more than God.”(p.41).

The Covetousness Cure

To not covet, we have to love God. And to love God, we have to avoid coveting. This is how we overcome sin. We daily focus upon worshiping God. And, we daily do battle in our hearts. We daily worship God and we daily abandon our idols. This is how we find the strength through the power of the Holy Spirit to obey God and our parents. This is how we avoid lying, stealing, and murder. To grow in Christ, we must actively pursue the things of God. We must actively uproot out our idols

The next time your child tells you that they sinned because of what some teacher, some (crazy) children’s pastor, or some little kid did, challenge them on it. Remind them that they are in trouble not because of what the other person did but because of what they thought, said, and did. They are in trouble because their actions revealed that they loved something more than God.  Help your kids to start asking themselves why they sin. For example, show them that cheating to get a good grade means they love the approval of men more than God.  Expose their hearts to the reality of sin, Then, point them towards the God of the universe!