Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I discovered this on the First Commandment in Calvin’s Institutes, 2.8.16.

Even though there are innumerable things that we owe to God, yet they may be conveniently grouped in four headings:

(1) adoration (to which is added as an appendix, spiritual obedience of the conscience),

(2) trust,

(3) invocation,

(4) thanksgiving.

(1) “Adoration” I call the veneration and worship that each of us, in submitting to his greatness, renders to him. For this reason, I justly consider as a part of adoration the fact that we submit our consciences to his law.

(2) “Trust” is the assurance of reposing in him that arises from the recognition of his attributes, when — attributing to him all wisdom, righteousness, might, truth, and goodness — we judge that we are blessed only by communion with him.

(3) “Invocation” is that habit of our mind, whenever necessity presses us, of resorting to his faithfulness and help as our only support.

(4) “Thanksgiving” is that gratitude with which we ascribe praise to him for all good things. As the Lord suffers nothing of these to be transferred to another, so he commands that all be rendered wholly to himself.

I find this so helpful because it helps me to identify my idols.

(1) Adoration: What is it that I treasure and look to as a priority in my life? In the details of this or that part of my life, what am I living for? One example from my life: I can yearn for the approval of others.

(2) Trust: When the chips are down, what do I look to, what do I ‘repose in’? One example from my life: Food is supposed to make me feel better, especially in certain situations.

(3) Invocation: What do I appeal to ‘whenever necessity presses’ me? What do I expect to support me? One example from my life: I will replay situations in my mind, but only in such a way that will make me look good. As a result, I can convince myself that I’m an okay guy.

(4) Thanksgiving: Who gets the applause when things turn out well? One example from my life: I do well because I’m smart enough.

Whenever I give to one of my idols what only Jesus deserves, adoration, trust, invocation or thanksgiving, I have broken this commandment. I am so very grateful that He is working on this in my life. There has been progress which, ironically, has revealed more of the idols that have been hiding in my soul. But I’m optimistic. Jesus has promised to free me from them all. And won’t that be a glorious day!

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