:: What God Requires ::


He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. 
And what does the Lord require of you? 
To act justly and to love mercy 
and to walk humbly with your God. 
Micah 6:8

I remember as a freshman in college finding this verse during a incredibly hard season . I clung to it for dear life. I felt overwhelmed by the challenges of university, ones I was unsure I'd succeed at and felt that while the world required much, God required even more and I was for sure failing him.

In comes this verse. Just three things. Oh so simple. It gave me rest and carried me through. In a time of being surrounded by a lot of struggle, I got to see Jesus through this and I loved him. He cared about justice so he calls me to act justly. He gave out mercy so asks me to do the same. He called me to be humble in light of it all. Through this verse, in many ways God became a friend. I liked Him. I rested.

I was walking Eowyn during our regular morning stroll and was reminded of this passage. "Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly." I have chanted that over to myself often through the years. But this morning it was overwhelming. I took some time to look up what each meant with my phone and felt a heaviness settle in. 

Just: based on or behaving according what is morally right and fair. 

When I read this, I honestly thought "Well, I got that one in the bag." There are days when you could ask me what my moral wrongs were and I would actually have to take a good 20 minutes to come up with a handful. (Ask my husband or friend, or kid if she could talk or any stranger and my guess is they could give you 20 for every minute I spend trying to come up with my list.) Lets not mention the big fat  dead giveaway of PRIDE that makes it hard for me to even come up with said list. I'll get to that in a second.

Mercy: Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm.

Compassion: Sympathetic concern for the sufferings or misfortune of others.

Forgiveness: the act or process of being pardoned, absolved, or exonerated.

And this is where it got me. Just incase I wanted to scoot by the first one.  Just minutes before I was thinking of wrongs committed against me. I had no record of my own, but I had a cement record of  everybody elses. Just moments ago I was making judgement calls.

So here's one accurate judgment call I can make: I do not love mercy.

Humble: Having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance.

Should I even speak anymore? I feel like I, in that moment with God, had the face of a magician caught in his deception. The wall behind the wall is revealed. The card up the sleeve. Or more appropriately, I did the trick wrong and got the bunny killed.

Bow and leave. Bow and leave.

I kept walking, crunching my leaf friends underneath me. I had no more words. Thats when I started being reminded. Reminded of the intense conversation I had with Ben last night about something too stupid to even bother with. Where all the while Ben was trying to understand why I was so fired up about it and I just kept telling him he was wrong:  Eowyn was getting stressed out from it all but I just kept on going. I'm reminded of the pride I had and how I wouldn't back down. Or the way that Eowyn, just wanting to spend time with me, kept punching the keys of this computer since I was focused on it and I was getting frustrated earlier this morning. Or the way I fought critical thoughts at a passerbyer I didn't even know. 

What hits hard (apart from the barrage of reminders of my failures) is that this all is not a mere request of God. "God has shown me what is good. and this is what he REQUIRES." That I act justly: That I actively work towards choosing and acting good. That I love mercy. Not DO mercy. LOVE mercy.  Only in the action of loving mercy can I give it correctly. Because if I give it, not out of love, I'm not giving a true pardon, I will expect repayment. God's called me to delight in giving pardons, in releasing those that have wronged me. All the while walking in the knowledge of my own importance. Walking humbly with my God. The little that I am in light of all this story, its with Him. 

Because "he has shown me, O mortal what is good."

Its funny how verses that once gave relief, now give conviction. Yet, it is so helpful to my heart. So often I measure myself by my clean home, my (begrudging) change of schedules for others, my SO-HARD life of dealing with Eowyn on her bad days. And I think "this is what God requires of me, so suck it up." 

In those moments, is my heart choosing right? Am I loving to forgive my husband, my child, my friends, the person that doesn't even know me but did me wrong? Am I remembering who I am in light of who God is? 'Cuz that's what God requires.

Thats where the beauty of Jesus dying comes in. Had he not lived perfect,  become my sin, died to destroy them, and given me life, I'd still be stuck in this. I'd be stuck with my wrong answer and with my angry fist. He gave me a way out.  Not only that, Praise Jesus, He's active now. That first part of the passage is huge. "He has shown you... what is good,"

Because Justice according to me? is not good. And mercy? Is not without repayment. And humility doesn't even exist in my system. Had God not been there today to remind me, I'd ended my walk thinking I was sinless, and that the rest of the world sucks. I'd be a self-righteous cynic who only did 'right' when it benefited me. Folks, thats not good.

 But he has shown me what is good and removed my sins. He's changed my heart. I can walk in freedom to do (and fail to do, and try again to do) what he has requires. So, this weekend my hope is I can get a taste of what it means to act justly. To walk humbly. to love mercy. May you taste it and the sweetness of Jesus with me. 

As always, thanks for reading.

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