The first command tells us that we are have no other gods. That means we are to have God and put our full trust in him. But how do we do this? What does it look like in everyday life?
In his famous exposition Martin Luther fleshed out in clearest terms exactly what it meant to place your confidence in God alone. In sum, Luther said that we fulfill the command with...
1. Godly Stewardship: Luther makes the point that money, power, fame are gifts that God bestows. Thus, God is to be glorified by them. Too often though, we put our trust in them and regard them as our source of comfort. Luther says we can recognize the error "when you notice how presumptuous, secure, and proud people are because of such possessions, and how despondent when they no longer exist or are withdrawn."
2. Simple Prayer: Listen to how Luther laid low the superstitious practices of his day: "If any one had toothache, he fasted and honored St. Apollonia; if he was afraid of fire, he chose St. Lawrence as his helper in need; if he dreaded pestilence, he made a vow to St. Sebastian." Luther equated the invoking of saints with sorcery. His point was that God was to be regarded as the sole provider of good and that we should demonstrate our trust by resorting to Him alone.
3. Thanksgiving: It is easy to look to the strength of our own hand or find our help in others. But thanksgiving is the constant acknowledgment that all we have comes from the good hand of God alone. Luther says, "Creatures are only the hands, channels, and means whereby God gives all things...Therefore no man should presume to take or give anything except as God has commanded, in order that it may be acknowledged as God's gift, and thanks may be rendered Him for it"
4. Trust God's means of provision: If we are to look to God alone for our welfare, we then should trust His appointed means of provision, namely work and private charity. Taking public assistance, stealing, or making money through illegal activity is, according to Luther, "not receiving from God, but seeking of ourselves."
5. Patience: Faith means trusting God to do the right thing at the right time. But since it may seem to take a while, faith exemplifies itself in patience. Luther beautifully illustrates what God says in Scripture, "Whenever you suffer misfortune and distress, cling to Me. I, yes, I, will give you enough and help you out of every need; only let not your heart cleave to or rest in any other.