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Bible Insights

3 Things God Requires from Us

God’s Expectations May Surprise Us, but They Do Make Sense

As Micah wraps up his prophecy to the people of Israel, he slips in a profound thought. In one short sentence he tells what God requires of his people. It’s succinct and simple. It’s startling but profound. Equally astonishing is what Micah doesn’t include in his list of things God requires.

God doesn’t say go to church, develop the right theology, or obey a bunch of rules. Yet these are some of the many things we put great importance on today. We focus on these elements—and others like them—at the expense of what God requires.

What does God require from us? He wants us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with him (Micah 6:8).

Act Justly

We often hear the word justice, but we don’t often hear of acting justly. What does justly mean?

Here are some ideas. To act justly we should:

  • be honorable and fair in how we deal with others,
  • behave morally (that is, righteous), and
  • do all things properly.

Does this sound a lot like Jesus? It’s what he taught and how he acted. Yet we often forget to behave this way in our own lives. Instead we get caught up chasing secondary pursuits and even focusing on goals that don’t matter in God’s perspective.

Love Mercy

Another thing God requires is that we love mercy. This goes beyond merely showing mercy to others but to fully embrace mercy. Often people show mercy but do so in the begrudging way. Their attitude is wrong. Though they show mercy, they don’t love it. In fact, they may hate it.

God wants us to love showing mercy to others. Isn’t that what he does for us? Shouldn’t we follow his example and do it for others?

Walk Humbly with God

Humility is a word we don’t hear very often anymore. In today’s culture, humility is no longer an esteemed characteristic. In truth most people look down on the humble and dismiss them. Instead society embraces the bold, egotistical, and controversial. However, in God’s kingdom, this is the wrong perspective.

God requires us to walk humbly with him. And when we walk humbly with him, the natural outgrowth is humility toward others.

If God expected his people to do this thousands of years ago, is there any reason he doesn’t expect it from us today? Click To Tweet

A Final Thought about What God Requires of Us

Though Micah directs these expectations of what God requires to the nation of Israel, these points are consistent with his character and more broadly applicable to us. Yet these fall short of a command for us to obey today.

Even so we are well advised to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. If God expected his people to do this thousands of years ago, is there any reason he doesn’t expect it from us today?

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is Micah 5-7, and today’s post is on Micah 6:8.]

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s book, Return to Me: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope from the Minor Prophets

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Jesus Calls Us To Serve With Humility

Living a life for Jesus is living contrary to our culture

Jesus often warns his followers to not be hypocrites. As an example of who not to emulate, he usually singles out the religious leaders. This is a sobering thought for anyone on a church staff or who has a following of spiritual seekers. Don’t be a hypocrite!

Apparently Jesus realizes how easy it is for religious leaders to succumb to hypocrisy. In their zeal to pursue God and guide their people, they often give instructions that they themselves cannot or will not follow.

Their words don’t align with their actions. They’re hypocritical. This was as real in Jesus’s time as it is for us today.

While it’s easy to see hypocrisy in others, it’s more difficult to see it in ourselves. Surely this warning against being hypocritical applies to others and not us. We would never act like that. Yet as soon as we think this, we should probably receive it as a sign to examine ourselves with great care.

Jesus ends one of his teachings against hypocrisy with two confounding statements:

To Be Great, We Must Serve

When we think of leadership in our world today, we seldom think about service. In fact, our common view of great people is that they expect others to serve them.

This is backwards for Jesus. He says when we serve others, then we will become great. But this doesn’t necessarily mean we become great in our world, but we will become great in his. Which is more important?

Jesus says when we serve others, then we will become great. Click To Tweet

To Be Exalted, We Must Be Humble

Next Jesus warns that people who try to promote themselves, that is to elevate themselves, will end up being embarrassed. They will be humiliated. Ultimately, the person who takes on true humility will in the end be exalted. Though this sometimes occurs in our world today, it will most certainly happen in our future spiritual reality with Jesus.

In these verses we see a clear call from Jesus to serve with humility. We must grasp this concept. Then we must do it. A failure to do so may be a form of hypocrisy. But when we serve with humility, we point the world to him.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is Matthew 23-25, and today’s post is on Matthew 23:11-12.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Bearing Fruit is Key; Having a Right Theology Isn’t

In matters of faith, it’s not what we believe, it’s what we do

One of the promises during the modern era was that through the Age of Enlightenment (Age of Reason) we could pursue truth and it would eventually converge on a single understanding of reality. This didn’t happen.

Instead of converging to reach consensus, we diverged to produce disagreement. Though this is true in all facets of our life, it is perhaps most pronounced in the area of spirituality. Protestantism is a prime example, with our 43,000 denominations disagreeing with one another.

We fight about theology. Then we separate ourselves from those who don’t agree with us.

The sad thing about pursuing a right theology is the inevitable conclusion that everyone who doesn’t agree with us is wrong and headed down a misguided path. Then we separate ourselves and cause more division.

At a most basic level, theology is the study of God. I think about him a great deal. I contemplate my relationship with him. I wonder how that should inform the way I interact with others. Yes, I think a lot about theology (God), not as an intellectual pursuit but as a matter of spiritual imperative.

To be painfully honest, I must admit a sense of pleasure over the results of my spiritual musings. I hope a degree of humility can replace this hint of pride.

Although I think my deliberations in spirituality are correct and produce meaningful insights, I hold my views loosely. After all I could be wrong.

God doesn’t care about our theology nearly as much as he does our actions. Click To Tweet

The reality is that the details of how we understand God don’t matter as much as how this understanding affects the way we live. God doesn’t care about our theology nearly as much as he does our actions. We need to produce fruit. Jesus says that bearing fruit glorifies God (John 15:8).

This means we need to put our faith in action. The Bible tells us to. James discusses this (James 2:14-26). He ends this passage by saying faith without action is dead (James 2:14, CEB).

What we believe doesn’t matter nearly as much as what we do. May we never forget that.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.