What God Requires

Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?”

The demands of life can seem overwhelming at times and the expectations that are placed on us only seem to grow as we are placed in greater levels of responsibility.

Whatever your work may entail, everything we do affects others in some way. In some situations, in many instances, how you perform can have a direct affect on someone else’s life.

Many years ago I was struck by the reality of how our actions can affect our consequences. A young college student was driving home from school on Interstate 5 in Oregon when by exhaustion he fell asleep at the wheel, as his car slowly drifted off the roadway it just so happened that a police officer had pulled a car over for speeding in that section of the freeway. The young man struck the police officer with his car and killed him, he survived the accident only to be tried and convicted of involuntary manslaughter. The expectation for motorists is that if you are incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle, you should not be doing so. We often hear of the pitfalls of drinking alcohol but driving while tired can be just as detrimental.

That young man might not have known that his inability to stay awake while driving could have had such far reaching consequences and yet the effects of his decision have probably carried with him for life. Just as there are expectations placed on us in society, God has placed expectations on us spiritually as well.

Spiritual Expectations

Deuteronomy 30:15 “See, I have set before you today life and goodness, as well as death and disaster.”

It is a common theme today to hear of people incorporating false doctrine into everyday life. Whether the reference is to Karma in how people measure intent or practices in meditation that others deem necessary for achieving a personal centeredness, it is not uncommon for the language and practice of certain spiritual disciplines to carry over into everyday life as if it was completely innocuous.

It wasn’t long ago that I noticed a video post on Facebook that encouraged everyone to enjoy the Zen. I thought to myself, the reference is probably just a slang for finding inner peace but the implications are concerning if these are terms christians are using.

If we don’t represent Christ in what we do and how we live, we represent something else.

What is your expectation of God?

Do we really live like our actions have purpose or do we just jump into life, exhausted and without a care and hope for the best? There are ramifications for negligence in life just as there are ramifications for spiritual negligence before God.

Deuteronomy 30:1-3 “Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you.”

It’s easy to read in Deuteronomy and think of the Israelites as unique and separate from us today. What we often fail to recognize is the same principles that applied to Israel came from the same God we are subjected to today. We may think times have changed and expectations with them….but in reality they have not.

People are people regardless of when they lived and what culture they are from. God’s standards of holiness are just as important now as they were 4000 years ago.

Cultural Divides

My wife and I were having dinner the other night with our neighbors, they are new in our neighborhood and it has been a pleasure to get to know them. They both grew up in Mexico and have many interesting stories of their experiences there and what it was like for them at that time. One of them grew up in Mexico City, in abject poverty and yet as he described his life I was struck by the similarities we shared. I was thinking to myself as I heard his stories that regardless of the culture, language, or country we live in, we all have the same concerns and challenges that life presents.

We can look back in the Bible and see the same dilemma of trusting God and wrestling with sin today that Israel struggled with thousands of years ago. God’s blessings and curses were reflective of Israel’s relationship to Him as a nation and likewise individually. Today, we can see God’s blessing on a nation that honors Him and we can read His Word and see how He relates His Truth individually as well.

God’s Pattern for Holiness

Looking back at Micah 6:8 we witness the brush strokes of God on His Creation. The same principles God established then apply today.

  • To do justly is to walk in righteousness. Defined as living according to God’s divine or moral law, righteousness becomes the guide by which we show love back to God.
  • Mercy is ultimately love for others. If someone deserves wrath but we choose love instead, we are modeling our lives after our Lord who has lavished His love upon us.
  • Walking humbly is necessary to receive God’s guidance and correction. We can’t grow or listen to His instruction if our hearts are full of pride.

The Lord has shown us the way, He has laid out for us the path that we all are called to follow, the question is will we obediently walk according to His way or our way.

His way leads to life…our way leads to death.

It seems obvious but when the darkness of the world hinders our way, our flesh fights through the confusion and the struggle remains constant to get to the light.

Remember, your not alone in the journey, we all need one another to encourage and strengthen each other in the battle. Regardless of which culture you live in or your status, we are all fighting the same fight and the expectations for holiness are only meant to lead us in peace. The Lord has amply supplied us with the necessary tools to complete the task at hand, we only need to utilize what He has given.

Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might and you will walk in victory.

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