“You can take care of him because I’m taking care of you.”

This statement has recently become a common reminder in our home. 

My son is constantly trying to hoard his stuff away or show he is the best or the fastest. He wants to be in control— he wants to prove he’s worthy— and he doesn’t want his stuff to become lost or broken. 

At first I didn’t really question him. It seems right for him to want to take care of his things. It seems good for him to want to stand on his own and competitively prove himself. He is a growing boy in a neighborhood full of boys trying to make their way. 

But as time went on and his fight for self progressed, I began to see a problem. 

By taking care of himself, he had no room to look out for others. I saw him growing into a little man, but not watching out for his brother, and not sharing his favorite toys. I would watch and instruct him, but he didn’t seem to understand. 

What was missing? 

He felt he had to look out for himself because he thought no one else was. He didn’t see that I was there, overseeing every situation. He didn’t see that I was there, ready and available to be a source of confidence, love— even possessions.

In short, he did not trust me.

Why do our children need to trust us?

Why do our children need to trust us? I know my initial thought is, “So they will listen to me! I know what is best and they need to obey.” 

It’s true that if they listen it will prevent them harm and heartache. They may not always see that or agree, but as parents we can see that there are significant long-term benefits when our children follow our guidance. 

But is this the main reason a child should trust a parent? To protect them and grow them into responsible, respectable adults?

These are good reasons but not the ultimate reason.

Why did God give us the Law?

Let’s consider: Why does God provide His children with instruction?

Is it simply to protect us and grow us into responsible, respectable adults? Again— good reasons but not the ultimate reason.

What are those laws all about? What do they point to?

Jesus tells us:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22:37-40). 

And Paul explains in Galatians, 

The whole law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself (Gal. 5:14). 

The ultimate purpose in obeying the law of God is to love God and love others. 

The ultimate purpose in obeying the law of God is to love God and love others.

Jesus trusted his Heavenly Father

Jesus was the perfect picture of the law. He freely gave of his time, his energy, and his love. He was made nothing that we might have everything. As Peter says, “When he was insulted he did not insult in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten.” 

Why? Because, “He entrusted himself to the one who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). 

Jesus trusted his Heavenly Father to take care of him, to meet his needs, and to fulfill his ultimate promise. Because he did, he was able to pour out his life, even unto death— and rescue sinners like you and me.

Whether or not we trust God changes everything

When the Israelites didn’t follow the commands of God “to seek justice and love mercy” (Micah 6:8) it was because they didn’t trust God. They believed they needed to regain their own land, fight their own battles, and obtain their own possessions. They needed to look out for number one— because they failed to believe that God was already looking out for them.

They believed the ultimate lie that’s been plaguing mankind from the beginning— that God is holding out on us.

Just as God told the Israelites to seek justice and love mercy, God tells us today to love our neighbors. If someone takes your shirt, give them your coat in return (Matt. 5:40) “Honor your brother above yourself” (Rom 12:10).

How can we do that? It’s counter-intuitive to all of our self-preserving instincts!

We do so by remembering that He is good. He isn’t hoodwinking us. He has great things for us! We “have an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven” (1 Peter 1:4). 

Our mighty God is looking out for us. If we trust that God is overseeing our lives, giving us everything we truly need, sovereignly giving and taking away— If we trust that He is the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), then we don’t have to look out for ourselves. 

And we gain an unparalleled freedom to love others fiercely. To give and share without hesitation. To encourage and build up our brothers with no need to remind others of our own worth. 

Loved fiercely to love fiercely

Our relationships here on earth are meant to point us to our God. The truths that resound throughout Scripture live and breathe in my earthly relationships. 

If my son recognizes that I love him fiercely— that I’m watching over him, giving him good gifts, helping him build on his strengths— then he can freely love, encourage and protect others. 

Ultimately the Lord will be the one who changes my son’s heart to be humble and love others. But for now, my role is to train him in trust. I can show him that when he trusts me— the provider, the one who loves him— he can lay himself down to protect and love others. 

I must also live out this example for him. I must show him that I can freely give and fiercely love because the One who holds all things in His hands loves me. I have a Father looking out for me— and I trust Him.