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The First Commandment

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The First Commandment

Post by PastorDan on Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:12 pm

You'll have no other gods.



What does this mean?
We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.


This article is available in a printer-friendly version here: The First Commandment


There is a lot going on in the First Commandment. Where should we begin in walking through this with our children?

First, we should make sure we remember that the very idea of God, as well as many doctrines related to how the Christian faith explains who God is, are abstract, making it difficult for children to truly or fully understand. However, it is important to begin, even when they are young, to talk in trinitarian terms about who God is. We should avoid using the phrase, "God and Jesus". It is a rather popular phrase but it does not help our kids come to understand what the Bible teaches about God, that he is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So instead, talk about God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. Reinforce this with such language that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each truly God. In parallel with this, emphasize that we believe in one God, not three.

Perhaps you are thinking that this is too simple. But it is very important that we do not introduce our own struggles in understanding the Trinity. Children as young as three years of age will be able to comprehend the basics of this. They are able to deal with the concepts without nearly the same struggles we have as adults.

So what does it mean that we will have no other gods?

The simple explanation to "fear, love, and trust" is very useful.

First, talk with your children about what else might be a "god" to us. Talk about how those things that we most desire can become "gods" to us, and how we can put our trust or love into these other things.

Some examples of other "gods":

  • Our reputation at school
  • How many "friends" we have on facebook
  • How great we are at sports
  • What our favorite celebrities do or say
  • Having a better birthday party (or whatever) than our peers


You can help your child see how easily we look to other things with "trust", "fear", or "love". The purpose here is to help them identify what a god looks like, then begin to trust that the one true God indeed provides all we need.


Fear, Love, and Trust


We can also use our own relationship with our children as an analogy for the first commandment.

When our kids disobey us, they may have reason to "fear" not only punishment but also our disappointment. Because we have more authority than they do, there is an appropriate fear that is necessary.

Love is a fundamental part of the bonding between parent and child. We can teach our kids about the love of God, despite the imperfections of our love. Pointing to ways in which we love our children, they can see a reflection of the love of God. Most often this will be communicated in sacrifice.

Our children trust us more than they realize. As you begin unpacking that trust dynamic, you are helping to build an analogy for their trust in God. What would it look like if your kids woke up to find mom and dad missing? They trust you to be there.

God is infinitely more deserving of our fear, love, and trust - all three together - than any mere human. This is the heart of the First commandment.

So all three of these concepts, "fear, love, and trust" are familiar. We remind our children that God is a perfect Parent, and that He has commanded us to fear, love, and trust in Him above all else. We also remind them that Jesus did this perfectly -  something none of us can do (it's already too late!) - and because Jesus' fear, love, and trust was perfect, He was able to win our forgiveness.

In this way we can talk about the First Commandment at home with our children.
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PastorDan
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Re: The First Commandment

Post by PastorDan on Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:54 pm

Don't miss this post with an interesting Jewish perspective on the First Commandment.

http://hclconline.forumotion.com/t58-first-commandment-have-no-other-gods

(Jews number them differently, so he calls it the "2nd". Don't get hung up on the number.)
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