By Benjamin H. Liles
I know I have gone over this verse a few times before on this website, but I feel it bears going over it again. I admit I also have a problem with my behavior. While I know I belong to Christ Jesus, there are times I question my behavior. How do I live better within Him? To show His love His grace and mercy? and also, how am I to show His glory and honor to those who so desperately need Him?
To tackle this issue I'm breaking down what Micah has said God told him to record: "He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what it is the LORD requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8, King James 2000 and Holman Christian Standard, fused together). So, there are three things I will address within the confines of this article then.
1) Live justly. When we're commanded by God on High, the Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah to live justly it comes across that there are a few things He's saying to us, and they are as follows - watch your words (see Ephesians 4:29), love your neighbor (see Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31), encourage one another (see 1 Thessalonians 5:11), and to share what we have as it pleases Him (see Hebrews 13:16).
When we break that small list down it comes down to this: we are to give one another the benefit of the doubt. If there is any wrongdoing on any part of anyone, we are to do what? Paul says, "Love one another, so that you have fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8, Holman Christian Standard). If we are to live justly under God and with what He tells us to do , which is first and foremost to care about the things He cares about, it is to take care of ourselves as well as one another. Solomon wrote, "Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow springs of life" (Proverbs 4:23, Berean Study). Why did he pen those words?
If we look at the man and ministry of Christ Jesus we see Him opposing the proud and giving grace to those who are humble. In talking to us all, the religious as well as non-religious, Jesus said, "But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man" (Matthew 15:18). And it is why Paul ended up saying, "We tear down arguments, and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5, Berean Study).
Living justly in itself could be very time consuming! I mean take a look at all those verses. That's exhausting work just for me to look up! But the purpose and intent is that if and when I allow Jesus to be my all in all and to do as He commanded, "love others as myself," it means I will do all I can to ease the burdens of others. So the simplest way to say, "live justly," in my words is to "give grace where it is needed and a correction where it is due."
2) Love mercy. I love how Jesus responded to His cousin john the Baptist. Before John the Baptist was beheaded for his ministry, he sent word to Jesus to find out if He is the One whom God sent. Jesus responded, "Go your way, and tell John what things you have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached" (Luke 7:22, King James 2000).
As followers of Jesus we ought to allow Him and His love be our guide, but within reason. In our efforts to give and explain the gospel story we need to be bold enough to tell others how God punishes those who sin and remain in it. But that's not the end of the story. Yes, He will render His justice...to all. His word tells us so. But in our efforts to "love mercy" we are to do as Christ did. We are to help "the blind seem the lame walk, lepers cleansed, deaf hear, dead are raised, and the gospel being preached to the poor." How are we to do this?
We are to open the scriptures and explain things so that by hearing the deaf are given restoration to hear. In that same vein, by doing so for those who are spiritually blind, we are to do this as well so they can "see." Those who cannot walk in and by the scripture, though, we have to take a different tactic. We are to help them as best we can, but again, we are to help them see God enables them to walk according to His word. Those who have diseases that are untreatable God can treat in and through His word so they can be made whole by His word. Those who are spiritually "dead" in their sins can be given life through the word given, when we open our Bibles and explain. And for those who are poor, the gospel message is the riches that God extends to us so we can give Him and his love all the more!
3) Walk humbly. This is so the hardest point. Probably more so than the first two. We can get ourselves to live justly and to love mercy, but to walk humbly? I? don't know about anyone else who reads this, but for me to walk humbly that takes the grace of God alone to enable me to even pay attention! In all fairness though, it is possible to do. With the fact we have Jesus and His power in our lives we can walk humbly with God. He quoted a command God gave to Moses: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37; Deuteronomy 10:12).
We do this by devoting our time to Him by opening His word and reading it for ourselves. We spend time alone with Him in prayer, too. At the same time He allows and puts certain people in our lives that help and hold us accountable for our attitudes, our thoughts, and how we live so that God can be seen and known to others. Why? As scripture records, "to make [God's name] known" (Isaiah 52:6; Ezekiel 39:7; John 17:26). Walking in humility means we serve one another and listen with respect so that God can be seen and witnessed among His people.
I recall a song I love by a band that no longer records albums in which the words are "At the end of my days I know I'm gonna say, 'I wouldn't live my life any other way.' I'll look to my posterity to carry on for me and pray that they will see...A believer in deed" (Believer in Deed, Wake up Call, 1993, Petra). I make it a huge issue for myself to live the way God desires of me because I have lived my life without Him for the greater part of my life, up to a month ago (you can read my story Sick and Gall Bladder Out). I will never forget that night I almost died, I really won't. It's as if God was telling me, "Look, I love you, but you're this close to being without me." I heard Him and I responded by coming close to Him, for good! You don't know separation from God until you're there.
There are countless men, folks, who have claimed God doesn't exist at all, but at their beathbed they said things like, "For all the money in Europe I wouldn't want to see an unbeliever die! All night long he cried out for forgiveness," or "I'm in flames! or even "Burn all my books! Behold the Holy One! He's been waiting long for me, and He is here!" The men I'm quoting here are Voltaire, David Hume, and Jaroslawski. Famed occultist and known Satan worshipper, Anton LaVey said, "I was wrong with what I did in this life," as he was dying. The last words of Aleister Crowley weere given to his son, Aleister Ataturk MacAlpine, and those words were "supposedly," "I am perplexed. Satan, get out!" To me this is ironic considering Crowley is considered a Satanist. As I have said before it is not ever my intent to scare anyone to making a decision for Christ. In fact, that's the wrong reason to even come to Christ at all.
Friend, the reason you read this article tonight is the fact you wonder if there is something wrong with your behavior. Sin, at its core, muddies the intent and true concerns of the human heart. When we're told in God's word, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26, Berean Study), it's meant to tell us that God's desire is we are born again, to have a new and clean heart. We are meant, as people, created by God and in His image to be holy, to live to make His name known, to extend His grace and mercy, living justly, and being humble. It is in and through this we match the behavior Jesus Christ had, thus being children of God. I pray this encourages and helps you in your walk. In the name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior. Amen.