The world is filled with people who claim to be searching for something. They are searching for the right career, partner, car, house, etc. Many even claim to be searching for themselves. You might be tempted to ask yourself what it is that you might be searching for. I have found that there is a question that helps to quicken that answer. Ask yourself this. What is it that you fear the most? For some its losing their life, spouse, job, car, house, money, reputation, and so on. This would be a good time to briefly stop reading this post and to ask yourself what it is that you fear the most.
Did you really think about it? If so you are much closer to really knowing your heart and what you hold dear. You are very close to knowing what you have found in your life or what you are still searching for. What would happen if you were told you were to lose that with which you hold dear or if it were to be taken away? How would you handle that? How would your life be changed? What if I were to tell you that it actually might be good to think in that way? When you were asked what you fear the most I’m almost certain that your first answer wasn’t God, at least that’s not my first initial thought. The First Commandment is that you shall have no other gods. This means that we should fear, love, and trust in God above all things. Seems that we can be guilty of breaking this commandment and having ourselves and idol.
The heart is an idol factory [Jer. 17:9]. We are by nature sinful and we hate God [Rom. 1:30; 5: 6-10] We easily place our fears, our love, and our trust in anything and everything that isn’t God. God tells us that this is breaking the First Commandment. He calls this idolatry. We aren’t to fear anything but Him, a healthy fear for He is God, We aren’t to love anything more than we love Him, we aren’t to trust in anything more than we trust in Him. Why is this? Well, besides the obvious because He said so, let’s look at what He wants us to do with this commandment. He wants us to Fear Him, that is to know that all good comes from Him and we are sinners and He is Holy, apart from Him we are without faith and salvation. He wants us to love Him above all else. He loves us so much that He gave His only Son even before we loved Him while we were His enemies [John 3:15, Rom 5:8] He wants us to trust in Him above all else. He wants us to know that everything we have comes from Him.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon. Therefore I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing? See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they? “Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan? Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin, yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he much more clothe you, you of little faith? “Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient. [Matt: 24-34]
We aren’t to be worried for our life. Think about that. Worry for nothing, fear no lack. Don’t worry about anything that you need to sustain your life. God made you and it is God that gives you life and sustains that life. This isn’t to mean that we should just be lazy but that we shouldn’t really put our fear into these things. We can lay this fear on God and expect all good from Him. If God can take care of the birds how much more worthy are you than birds! Jesus didn’t die for the birds, the birds don’t have eternal life, yet as Christians, we do have eternal life. This is said perfectly about the grass of the field, it’s not here forever but you dear Christian are. If God gave this life and this life is temporary and God gave us eternal life after this temporal one then those things we put our trust in, those things that we fear, have no power over us. For it is God who gives and God who wants us to expect these gifts from Him. The first commandment is summed up very well in the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus tells us we are to pray expecting all these things including our daily bread. Let’s look at Luther’s Small Catechism:
Our Father who art in heaven.
What does this mean?
God would thereby [with this little introduction] tenderly urge us to believe that He is our true Father, and that we are His true children, so that we may ask Him confidently with all assurance, as dear children ask their dear father.
The Fourth Petition.
Give us this day our daily bread.
What does this mean?
God gives daily bread, even without our prayer, to all wicked men; but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to know it, and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.
What is meant by daily bread?
Everything that belongs to the support and wants of the body, such as meat, drink, clothing, shoes, house, homestead, field, cattle, money, goods, a pious spouse, pious children, pious servants, pious and faithful magistrates, good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.
We don’t do this though, do we? We don’t run to God expecting all comfort and good. We run to other things for comfort. Maybe after a long day we run to too much booze, food, sex (porn), buying something to treat ourselves, etc. This is where the law gets us. I need to break this down a bit for anyone thinking that they don’t break this commandment or that God doesn’t take it that seriously. If we are to think that God overlooks something as minor as not looking to Him for all good and fearing something as if it had more power over our lives than God wills it. God is all Holy. He expects perfect obedience at all times. There are 86,400 seconds in a day and for every second you must follow this command. We can see that if we take an honest look at ourselves we don’t come close. This is where it should be said that works cannot save us. If works could save you then you would be and will be damned where you stand. Jesus is the answer to this. Jesus is where we are to look when we fail this. He lived a perfect life of obedience in your place. Fully God, Fully Man, He lived a perfect life and even though He was perfect He took the full punishment for your sins on the cross. He suffered, bled, and died for you. Taking all those times that you trusted in money, yourself, your wit and cunning, your pride, your things to give you an identity, and buried them in the grave. He rose from the grave leaving all those sins buried and ascended into heaven. This is the great exchange. Your sins He took and paid for, His righteousness He gives to you and clothes you with in baptism. Repent and believe in Him [Mark 1:15]. It is because of Him that we can come to God expecting all good to flow as His dear children. We can truly fear, love, and trust in nothing else but God because of Jesus given to you through faith by the Holy Spirit. Go in peace, your sins are forgiven, your faith has saved you [Luke 7: 48-50].