Responding to God’s Goodness
“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 NIV
Our response to the One who first loved us (1John 1:9), forgave our sins, and stayed faithful to us despite our unfaithfulness is to live as an extension of His love and mercy (by His Spirit) to those around us (Micah 7:18-19 NIV).
This has nothing to do with what others’ deserve, or how they treat us. And our motivation is not out of an obligation or a desire to earn God’s approval. We simply love because He first loved us. It’s a natural response that is rooted in gratefulness. And it births a lifestyle that is upside down in the worlds economy, with a kingdom mindset and agenda guiding us forward.
In response to God’s goodness toward us, Micah 6 gives us a threefold challenge for how we live this out on purpose with three goals for our lives.
First, act justly.
Justice is high on God’s agenda. Injustice is the culprit for so much of our world’s suffering today. Yet we have the power make a difference in one persons’ life today, and then perhaps next in our community, our country and the world. We must strive to help the poor, the marginalized and voiceless in our societies. If we live in comfortable neighborhoods, we need only drive a few miles away to find those who are forgotten and in desperate need of an advocate and friend (a nursing home, a homeless shelter, an impoverished neighborhood). Living a life of justice demonstrates that our lives have been shaped by the Gospel and we are committed to His call on our lives. It also gives credibility and opens the door to sharing the Good News of how Jesus has rescued us.
Second, Love mercy.
God has shown us His incomprehensible mercy. Our response should be to extend mercy to others. When I fail to forgive others, it reflects my lack of awareness of the extent to God’s forgiveness for me. Our world is desperate for forgiveness, even if they don’t always know it.
We should love and accept in tangible ways and point them toward Jesus. It may mean inviting a neighbor over for dinner or helping a coworker with a difficult task.
Mercy does not mean that we affirm others’ poor choices or sin. It simply means that our love is not a response to their behaviors. Instead it is unmerited with no strings attached, just like God’s love for us.
I need to bring the message of the Gospel to as many as possible, including the prisoners, the homeless, the elderly and the poor (And of course to my family and neighbors). He did for us. This is part of how we follow Him as His disciples. Until our life bears this kind of fruit in the lives of others who then emulate our fellowship of Jesus, we are not truly making disciples who make disciples. When other follow us in following Jesus and they in turn help others in the same manner, then we know that we are making disciples like Jesus.
Third, walk humbly with God.
Never see yourself as better, above, or more important than others. A proud person overestimates their own importance. They can’t laugh at themselves. ‘Don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously’ (v.8c, MSG). Humility is one of the critical fruits in the life that has been shaped by knowing Jesus. A person that is being transformed any knowing Jesus and following Him, will grow in their awareness of the work of the Spirit in them, and in their own brokenness apart from His power.
In fact, none of this can be accomplished unless we authentically walk by His Spirit, and not in our own strength.
These three goals go together. True faith and the evidence that we are His disciples is demonstrated in how we live and treat other’s. D L Moody said, “Every Bible should be bound in shoe leather.” In other words, we are to live the written Word, and walk the talk.
This is why Paul writes that ‘the things done while in the body’ (2 Corinthians 5:10) really matter. Let our actions today be the shoe leather evidence of our faith.
How can we walk in justice, mercy and humility today?
“Jesus-centric disciplemaking to the nations”