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Fresh Start 2013: Day

God gave us law to lead us to redemption


Today's Text: Exodus 20

Text: Exodus 20

There’s a long list of phrases my mom always said that I promised myself I would never say should I become a parent.

“If ‘so and so’ asked you to jump off a bridge, would you?”

“Just wait until your father gets home!”

And the worst of the worst:

“Because I said so!”

That always felt like such a copout. I vowed that I’d have a more concrete reason for what I’m sure my kids feel are silly rules for our household. Because I like to think that our house rules, much like the Ten Commandments as given to Moses by God in Exodus, are rules that have an invaluable purpose.

As Paul explains in Romans, the Commandments are a perfect expression of God’s will for His children. There’s no guesswork. Simply put, we can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for ourselves, our very human nature prevents it. We just don’t have what it takes. And like Paul admits, we have this uncanny ability to dress up the things we shouldn’t do and make them look like things we should do.

Enter my mind for a moment:

“Wanting designer skinny jeans like my girlfriend has just motivates me to work harder. And really, if I put in some extra time working hard on a Sunday, it just gets me closer to that pair of skinny jeans. Me talking to our other girlfriend about how much our friend paid for those jeans? We’re both Christians, so in a way, it’s just a form of fellowship!”

Yes, sin will get the best of us. Even with rules in place (and most certainly without rules in place), no one can defeat it.

Except for one.


He overcomes every broken commandment. Those we broke as children. Those we broke as adults. Those we have yet to break as participants in this fallen world.

Jesus is greater.

Because if God asked Him to hang on a cross, he would.

Because He can’t wait until we get home to our Father.

Because God said so.

  • Catherine Pinneo

    Oh how this brings back so many things of my own past! This also helps me with my children. Thanks & PTL

  • Joanne Sher

    So true. We absolutely cant be trusted to do what is best. I certainly cannot. Needed this reminder.

  • This post has me written all over it!! I have no problems justifying my jealousy and gossiping. It is a hard habit to break but thankfully Jesus is working in me to break those habits.

  • I guess what i like about what paul says is the impossibility of being perfect of doing good of being self righteous. This impossibility invokes the power of jesus. Like the old amy grant song. I have decided being good is just a fable. I just cant cause im not able. Im gonna leave it to the lord.

  • Romans 7:7-25 really hit home for me. It’s like I keep struggling with the same issues, the same sin, the same temptations. I know they are wrong yet I continue to do them. I now understand that I’m just feeding my flesh but instead I should be feeding my spirit with God’s word. I keep trying to fix things on my own and I can’t. I keep asking God to change me but nothing has happened but I guess as long as I keep holding on, not relying on God, and trying to do it on my own, I won’t change. Ready to let go…

  • We dress up our sin to make them look like we are doing the right thing. How convicting and humbling is that? I pray that God allows for me (and everyone else) to see when we are making excuses and playing the blame game. I pray that because God said so is a strong enough answer for us, that we don’t ask why, and instead be content and grateful for the ability to acknowledge our Lord and know deep down that what he is doing is in fact for our good in our lives, that he doesn’t play dress up with us, but instead builds us upon what/who we truly are, His children.

  • This was SO good! I read it this morning after having a discussion with some youth group kids last night about whether or not parents should be able to set rules for their kids. I’m so glad that both parents and God are able to set loving boundaries to give us an example of what’s best for us!

  • Praise you Dear Jesus. I can Do all things through you who strengthens me.

  • courtney n

    I want to remember the rules God gave us! I want to overcome temptation with Jesus Christ!

  • Charliie


    I pray to you often that you release me from my bad habits and sinful ways. I stopped trying because I realize I couldn’t do it, but I know that you can. So I submit myself fully to you. You are in control and you can! Lord I thank and love You! Because You bless me with wisdom and understanding… I am Yours! May you bless us all, as we join together in fellowship to share and bless Your word ! Thank You for your unmerited favor. :-)

  • P Karlyn

    So many times I’ve come short of Gods word, but I’m grateful for his grace as I continue to be obedient to the word.

  • Everyone's parents at one point or another told them to do something "Because I said so!" I feel that if God were to respond to us asking, "But whhhyyy?" regarding one of His commandments, He'd have to reply with, "You really want me to show you why? Okay, roll tape." Sure, most parents have reasons, good reasons, for why they impose certain rules. But those reasons can be hard to explain to a child of any age. Sometimes it's a little silly of us to expect God to justify His commandments. Especially given that, knowing we'd break them and sin anyway, God sent us Jesus that we may be delivered from death. I pray that when I'm struggling with sin, and dressing up my own sinful actions, I remember the rules the Lord made for us and that the redemption offered us through Christ is more than reason enough to set me straight.

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you Jesus for being willing to give up yourself for me, even before I was born. You are an loving and jealous God, and your affections for me are far greater than anything I could ever experience here.

  • I seem to always have some excuse to why I sin. It was the reason behind why I had to …what ever it was. But there are no excuses, no dressing it up. Sin is sin! This morning I read Psalm 19:14 and I thought, this should be my prayer daily.

  • I resonate with this so deeply. Sometimes even though we know something is wrong, we can dress up the sin in such a way that we know it will not convict as as much as if we had just done the right thing to begin with.

    Here’s a question:
    During those times when we know we sin, yes we know if we repent God, who is a living God will forgive us. But does there ever become a time when you should just get it right…especially if its the same sin you at failing at?

  • I am just so excited to be part of this Devo and hear from women just like me.: who are also forgiven from our dressed up sins about skinny jeans., disobedient children, dieting and taking care of our bodies with one more donut, giving the silent treatment to the spouse because I am exhausted and cranky. Praise God for His grace and His new mercies every morning. I need to give others a fresh start like God has given me. I love the end if the Devo turning the table on from all the whining to what Jesus has done for us already! We are redeemed! He chose to rescue us and daily provides a rescue plan for our failings, thank you Jesus!

  • Yvonne Rinehart

    Please pray for my sister sallee who has only moments left before she gets to be home with her father. She had suffered for years with cancer and it had now taken over. She leaves behind a beautiful family, a legacy of faith. Her husband, twin daughters, a son, and the beautiful chosen children from Ethiopia who all have come to faith in Christ. But they are young and their mother had been their world. I covet your prayers sisters for this my sister.

    • Sueso

      Praying for Sallee…

    • Jeanne

      Praying for you and your family and sallie's family right now. I pray for God's peace that passes all understanding to be
      revealed especially to Sallie's children as they move forward in life without their mom. I can't even imagine the pain they
      Have to face daily with her loss. I'm new to these devotionals but am comforted by the fact I am not alone in the
      Challenges of life that teach us to trust God more and more each day. Blessings to you.

  • Oh yes dressing up those sins to make them seem ok. For a challenging reminder I would highly recommend a book by Jerry Bridges “Respectable Sins”. I read it and was very convicted, but yet it is filled with hope. Our women’s bible study began studing the book yesterday. Awareness is the beginning of realizing how much we need a savior.

  • Father keep my mind second by second that I might not sin against you; nevertheless when I do and repent you forgive because of Jesus! The sin the lies within me takes my mind to places that I don’t want go; so in that I plead the blood of Jesus asking him to keep me and He does! It’s a process and my plans are to stay in the race and not give up the fight; it’s tooooooo late! Amen/ repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand!

  • I’m new today to this ladies starting to get my christian walk on tact and this was a great word for me.

  • I read that God gives us emotions to add color and beauty to our life. But emotions without guidance from the Holy Spirit can run wild and get us into trouble. As I thought about and read the 10 commandments all of them involve an action and then an emotion or an emotion and then an action. Then the Holy Spirit put on my heart the Words Jesus said Mt 11:30 My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

  • BRoseTaylor

    God’s will for our lives is perfect! Despite our countless sins, God is a redeemer! That’s the good news.

  • rocknitat55

    Love that God not only saved me from something, He also saved me to something! He has plans for us! Thank you for your comment.

  • Veronica

    Thank you God for giving us the ten commandments. It was such a great refresher to read them today. Being here and reading all of the posts here makes life so real. Jesus has redeemed us and we owe him everything. Doesn't it seem so simple to be able to live by the commandments that were given to us. And for the scarifies He made for us "in case we don't". Amazing…thank you God, thank you for guiding me to live a life in which I am able to keep myself in line through your words.

  • Rereading the 10 commandments today was such an eye-opener for me! With all of this "fresh start" talk, what better way to start off fresh than with the 10 simple commandments that God has laid out for us. Oh they seem so simple, I tell myself "I've got this, I don't murder, steal, etc." but oh how I do forget the "little ones." How many times do I catch myself saying God's name in vain, how often am I so busy I forget it's even Sunday, how often do I envy the skinny girl next door/her new car/her new [ fill in the blank]…"

    God didn't put the 10 commandments in order for "worst to not so bad." They are all sinful. Wow, what a great wake up call to put myself in check more often!

  • I’ve faced the fact that if there were NO laws, I would be dead. Our human make up was designed to push the limits. We live for adventure; we would be bored without the excitement life brings our way each day.

    Now imagine, not having the temperance if the Holy Spirit in our life? DISASTER! I am so glad God places limitations for our well-being. The Law is like a filter that keeps the grounds out of our cup. Has anyone’s filter ever slipped?

    Thank God for His infinite wisdom; He put stops in place to protect us from ourselves. If I was only 1/100 of an iota as wise as He (…and I’m being generous).

  • Love this from the devotion: “we have this uncanny ability to dress up the things we shouldn’t do and make them look like things we should do.”
    When I read the passage from Romans this resonated with me:
    “I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.” (MSG)
    I love the end of the passage:
    “I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
    The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” (MSG)

    • Sueso

      Thank you for sharing this Andi, makes things so much clearer for me! JESUS, HE IS THE ANSWER!

  • We aren't bound by the Law any longer! And that is awesome because we screw it up daily. Praise God for Jesus and His salvation. Jesus redeems us from our brokenness and our failings. He takes our messy lives and makes it into something beautiful for His glory.

  • Because God said so. Perfect. I'm grateful for God's rules and even more grateful for His forgiveness. Praise be to God for my fresh start!!!!

  • Carley Baghai

    The commandments are perfect and a goal but so humbling every single day. I thank God he set those out for us only to be reminded I'm not better than the person next to me. I can only strive to the goal and be sanctified through it.

  • Laura W.

    This is something I often forget: God didn’t just save me FROM something, he also saved me TO something.

    I’m reading The Hole In Our Holinessby Kevin DeYoung & this is the theme. Pursuing holiness. Grace is wonderful AND God’s law is wonderful! They’re not mutually exclusive. Great reminder!

    • Brandi

      Love that and often forget that God not only saved me from something, He also saved me to something! He has plans for us! Thank you for your comment.

  • lisabethjean

    I'm positive Paul was referring to my diet & exercise when he wrote verses 15-20 of Romans chapter 7!

    ~ "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it." ~

    I love the simplicity of Jesus' theory of spiritual & moral healing. He didn't recommend 12 steps, or 7 check points, or even 5. He said, "Go, and sin no more." Oh for a faith that enables one to live day by day without desiring or falling into sin.

  • Guilty! The worst part is, I didn’t think it was really sinning until today.

    Trying to make my life w/my partner “appear” together, when its actually falling to pieces. The lying to my parents and even to myself is shameful. I was a teen mom and the father disappeared for 18 yrs. I said I would do things different the next time around. But now that I’m older w/a 3 month old baby and a failing relationship w/the father I pretend as if its ok and its not…all to save face!

    Please God forgive me!

    • Becca

      Let me start by saying: You are forgiven! The law God gave clearly shows us how much we need Jesus. And Praise Jesus for everything He did because His Father said so. That is some extravagant love!
      Next, I have a 2 yr old and 1 yr old, so I know and remember those crazy first months after they were born. And there were days when my husband and I did not get along well, (lack of sleep will do that, haha). I can tell you that if you are seeking God in these tough days, he will bring you the guidance you need. Let Him be your comfort and continue to seek Him daily. I don't know the specifics of your situation and I don't want to wave off any complicated circumstances, but I can say with all confidence that God is always the answer.

      • Nance

        I totally believe in what you are saying and internalizing it for the first time in my life and I can testify daily of Jesus' everlasting abundant LOVE!

  • Jesus is greater. What an amazing truth to cling to every day.

  • This is uncanny because I blogged about this yesterday — how God is the perfect Father and is SO good at knowing what's best for us, even when it's what we wouldn't have chosen. And we, on the other hand, are notoriously bad at knowing what's best for ourselves. Just like we always tell our kids, when they don't understand why they can't have everything they want: it's our job as parents to give them what is good for them, even when they don't like it or understand it. God is SO GOOD to us.

    • Nance

      I so agree I loved the analogy of how God loves us so much that he makes us wait so we appreciate!

  • What a mighty God we serve!! What a mighty God we serve!! The angels gone before him heaven and earth adore him what a mighty God we serve.

  • I am just welling up. I love today’s devotion….because God said so. Why do I need to question anything else? And He covers a multitude of my sins…I am forgiven. I am blessed. And I need to Praise Him.

    Thank you. Truly blessed today.

  • “we Dress up the things we shouldnt do and make them look like things that we should”, very convicting! I often find myself making an excuse for when my attention shifts off the Lord because i can be very selfish with my time. Great read for a new day!

  • jesusgirl71

    All I can say is: wow! Jesus, thank You that You are wiling to help me overcome sin. I knokw full well I can't do it on my own.

  • I really love today's reading. Thanks for the example of the skinny jeans – made me laugh and really shows how easy it can be to "dress up sin". The example of things our parents used to say – "because I said so!" really helps too! I can just picture the eye rolling I got from my 11 year old kiddo last night when I used that same expression and the frustration that I felt from her complete disobedience and questioning of what I had just asked her to do. Drawing everyday parallels like this is so incredibly helpful for me in understanding God's word and what he is trying to tell me, tell us. Again, I think this passage is about letting go, listening to God and letting him guide us through this crazy world, not ourselves or what we think is best. In terms of dressing up sin, or trying to make something wrong by OK, I think God did give us our "guts"; I know that I've dressed up sin or done something that I know is wrong, I feel it inside my heart and mind; I carry around that guilt for days. It impacts my mood and the way I treat others and of course, the way I feel about myself. Reading the 10 commandments kind of brings it all back to a 101 level, which I think is really important to do. Most of time things are either right or wrong and we know that — we just need God to remind us. Today's reading will help me focus on not dressing up my sin, or rolling my eyes at God when he is telling me what is best — cause he knows what is best for me and wants that for me!

  • "He overcomes every broken commandment. Those we broke as children. Those we broke as adults. Those we have yet to break as participants in this fallen world."
    I love the hope in these lines. I love the word "redemption". I love that there is another chance for me. I love that Jesus went to the grave and beyond, just for me. I love that He loves me so much. Is it kinda weird that it's just after 6 on a Tuesday morning, the sun is still waking up here, and I can't sit still because I'm so excited that I am redeemed!!!! I am set free!!! I have been given another chance!!!! And He overcomes every broken commandment, even the ones I am yet to break!!! I don't want to sin, simply because I don't want to upset Him, but if for some reason I do, there's provision to take care of it!!!
    Oh happy day, Oh happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away:) Woo hoo!!!

  • Lewclar86

    Father as Paul so honestly stated, I too struggle with doing the things I don't want to do and not doing the things I do want to do. Holy Spirit cause me to not "dress up" sin I pray, but recognize it and repent of it immediately. Thank You Lord. Amen

  • Madeleine

    Loving God, help me to not dress up sin in my life. Justifying bad choices never makes them better. Thank you for your patience with me, an earthen vessel holding the treasure of your Son. Help all of us to show our world that you are greater than any darkness or failure.

  • Thank God for Jesus!

  • TMichelle

    Sin is sin is sin is sin! We do have a way of dressing things up to justify our actions. The commandments were quite clear. Lord, when I fall short and begin to play "dress up" I pray the spirit of conviction will rise within so that I may repent of my sin, constantly living in the fear and admonition of you.

  • Terri V.

    Father God, i too am guilty of dressing up sin in my life, of hearing your word but not dying to the flesh. May you grace me with the opportunity to recognize sin and focus on your Will in order that i may overcome sin and be a disciple of your perfect Will.

  • Oh God help me to walk in fear of you each day not as the world do, but as a woman that has been wash by the the blood of your precious son Jesus Christ. Help me to reverence myself before you and having a Godly fear of you each day.

  • This reading and passages are quite convicting. It really is easy to ‘dress up’ sin, justifying our thoughts and actions. That doesn’t make it any less sin. Dear God, please help me not to make Christ’s death of none effect in my life. Thank you for the rescue from sin and myself!

    • Candacejo

      Oops! I accidentally hit the dislike button and can't undo it! So sorry because I love what you said! Especially the part about rescuing from sin AND myself! So true.

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