For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
Many say they can trust God for eternal life, but cannot trust him for daily bread. This is an utter mistake. There are more difficulties and natural prejudices against pardon and eternal life than there are toward his daily provisions of bounty. These blessings reach to all his creatures, even to the smallest worm. Surely it is easier to believe in his common bounty than in his special love. But because many have a weak faith about temporal things, let us consider how willing God is to give us these supplies. Christ has purchased both body and soul; ‘So glorify God in your body’ (1 Cor. 6:20). If God has given us greater things, he will not neglect the lesser things. If we have been purchased at so great a cost, can any man be so illogical to conclude that God is not also willing to give us all things? (Rom. 8:32). If God gives to the beast his food, will he not maintain his children? It is monstrous and unnatural to think that God will not support you and bear you up in your work. Daily bread is in your Father’s power and he will certainly give it to you. You may with confidence expect daily supplies. They are from the Lord’s free grace and mercy. Which of you by worry can add to your stature? It is true that prayers for spiritual things are more acceptable to God, Just as you are pleased when your child asks for wisdom instead of an apple. But we may ask for other things. Why? They are good and useful to us in the course of our service. Without them we are exposed to many temptations, and Christ teaches us to pray for our daily bread. We should say with every morsel of bread, ‘This is God’s gift to me’; of every night’s sleep, ‘This is the Lord’s goodness.’ God is pleased when we acknowledge these outward things.
In this classic devotional, John Calvin urges readers to apply the Christian life in a balanced way to mind, heart, and hand. Rather than focusing on contemplative otherworldliness, the book stresses the importance of a devotedly active Christian life. In style and spirit, this book is much like Augustine’s Confessions, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, or Thomas à Kempis’s Imitation of Christ. However, its intense practicality sets it apart, making it easily accessible for any reader seeking to carry out Christian values in everyday life. Chapter themes include obedience, self-denial, the significance of the cross, and how we should live our lives today.