Sign up to receive Susan's latest post & your free Benefits for the Home School Parent E-book

Tales of Fantasy, Mystery and Adventure Under the Influence of Christian Homeschooling

S. A. J. Lyttek, a multiple award-winning writer, always loved writing, but didn’t arrive at the profession in the typical manner. After college and graduate school, she plunged into government consulting. In this environment, she discovered a knack for writing tests, interviews and other measurements. That soon became the focus of her career—reigniting her love for the written word. Thus captivated, she spent evenings freelancing “fun” writing including short stories, poems, articles and cards. When her eldest was a toddler, she quit full-time work to stay home and write. Eager to spend more time with her children, homeschooling intrigued her. From preschool through high school, she homeschooled both sons while continuing to freelance. While an integral part of the homeschooling community, she developed and taught writing classes to a generation of homeschoolers. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Gary, Mrs. Lyttek loves to share her commitment to learners of all ages and her fascination with the written word.


The First and Last Commandment

7/10/2024 1:00:00 AM BY Susan Lyttek

And God spoke all these words, saying:

 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

 “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:1-3)

Today, we wrap up the review of the Ten Commandments. Specifically, we are looking at how I broke every single commandment, biblically speaking, if you look at how Jesus interprets them, before I became an adult.

But, I’d like to make the case that God could’ve just issued this command. Technically, the other nine commands and all the explanation of the law is to remind us of this one fact: you shall have no other gods.

Sin, if you get down to it, is having other gods. When Adam and Eve chose to disobey, at that moment, before they bit into the fruit, they were choosing themselves as gods over the Creator.

And, any of the posts before in this series technically has ways that I violated this command. But I remember clearly the moment I willfully and intentionally chose other gods.

When I was in eighth grade, the world stunk. I don’t mean the world at large, necessarily, but my world. The junior high I went to was scary*. We had bomb threats at least once a month. Several of the “popular” young men were known to force themselves onto some of their classmates. My sweet grandmother was very sick. My mom and I yelled at each other more than talked. And my best friend had just moved away mid-year.

Since I was in eighth grade, I was attending confirmation classes. Every week, I learned something new about God. One week, the focus was prayer. “Our God is a God who answers prayer,” Pastor Bernard stated emphatically.

Never one to accept anything immediately, I decided to test that. I asked for prayer for my grandmother to get past the current round of ailments. “Give her a few more years,” I begged.

She died two days later.

Obviously, God didn’t answer prayer. The tension, fear, loneliness, and much more catapulted my reaction to God’s apparent lack of concern into an outright rage.

Fine. If God doesn’t want to answer my prayer, I don’t want God.

I don’t remember if the pastors or teachers noticed my change in attitude at the confirmation classes. If I could’ve skipped them, I would have. I told my mom (probably yelled the words, to be frank) that I didn’t want to be confirmed. “I don’t believe a word of it!” She told me that no daughter of hers was going to embarrass her by not being confirmed when it was time to be confirmed.

I went. I stood at the front with all the others. But whenever we said our vows or the creed or anything about God, I put the word “not” in front of it.

Refusing anything to do with God personally left a void in my heart and mind. Into that void, a spirit guide stepped in. He would give me the advice and the attention God wouldn’t.

But that kettle of worms is a whole other story with many loops and swoops before God wooed me back nine years later.

Even if I hadn’t broken any of the other commandments, I broke this one an intentional and aggressive way at fourteen.

When I humbled myself before God those nine years later, I knew I had no righteousness to offer. I knew the Bible well enough to know I had broken commandments and that the price of broken commandments was death. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.

But the very God who I thought hated me at fourteen, loved me so much that he gave his blood to pay for my sins.

That in truth is the main point behind the commandments. You, frail human, as much as you might want to do it on your own, cannot. You can’t keep even one command: have no other gods. Today, you may choose the god of pleasure over choosing Me. Or you may choose the god of self when my Spirit prompts you to do something you don’t want to. But you will choose wrongly at some point. And because you do love Me, you will seek My face until you know what it was that separated us and you will confess it.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)

My prayer is that today I live a bit closer to Him. Today, may I sin just a bit less.

*This was definitely related to the students more than the school itself. My sister attended the same location two years later and it was a much calmer experience for her.