Q: What does the first commandment require?
A: The first commandment requires us to know and recognize God as the one true God and our God, and to worship and glorify Him accordingly.
Although we typically think of the Ten Commandments as the “Thou Shalt Nots,” each commandment implies an affirmative requirement as much as a restriction.
This week’s catechism answer has four distinct verbs, and I’d like for us to consider how we can affirm these actions or habits within our families.
Know. We should make study of the Word and prayer a priority in our households. Let us remind each other of who God is, what He has done, and what is the nature of His character.
Recognize. Do our children see and hear that God is ever-present in our day-to-day reality? Do we frame our thinking and decisions in Biblical terms for them? We should let them know how our struggle with sin, our daily fears and failures, is a struggle to keep God in the number one spot in our hearts.
Worship. Does our faith look like drudgery to our kids? Are we doing things in a spirit of delight or duty? I believe that as we habituate ourselves in giving God due honor and credit, as we meditate aloud — even for the sake of our children — on the character of our Lord, our own miserly hearts will expand in worship. Let us sing songs in gratitude and gladness.
Glorify. Too often our children see many other things esteemed besides our God, including themselves. They see what we prioritize, where we spend invest our resources, and how we cherish things.
I’m naturally pretty reticent about my heart. I don’t emote aloud, and I tend to inwardly cringe when I see others who constantly “speak their faith.” I suppose I’ve been so critical of hypocrisy in others (including that of my own parents) that I would rather not make myself vulnerable to similar opprobrium.
But younger children especially need explicit examples of how these beliefs get lived out. We need to show them. Jesus did not just tell lecture and tell tales; he performed miracles. Why? To show. We need to pray aloud for the benefit of our kids, to show them our attempts at a worshipful life, and indeed fail at that, so that God can show them how He can redeem even that. For in the end, it is not us and our success at holiness that should be glorified, but God.