He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you; 

But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6: 8

When I watch high level athletes competing in their sport, I am always amazed at the ease with which they perform so many very hard tasks under the pressure of the competitive environment. There is grace and balance in their movements that is well beyond what most of us are capable of achieving.  It is this same degree of balance that God wants us to seek in our walks with Him. Yet, it is even more important in the spiritual realm than it is in the athletic. For in our spiritual lives the stakes are much higher than any national championship, and the opposition is more focused and considerably more fierce.

Micah points out three characteristics to hold onto as we seek to live out God’s will in our world. Each of them is important; however, our most effective approach to life is found by embracing all three in a balanced combination that leads to a graceful and love-filled walk with the Lord. Justice without kindness can be harsh and often becomes self-serving; yet, when kindness stands on its own, people tend to be too accepting of the sinful behaviors and attitudes of others. That is no more loving than it is to stand in front of someone and shout at them about their failure to live up to God’s standards. Finally, if we embrace justice and kindness without the humility to recognize that our ability to understand these complex characteristics comes from God, Himself, we are likely to make them into causes that become greater than the God who we should be serving by engaging in their implementation.

So, justice is linked to kindness, kindness is linked to justice, and both are controlled by humility. We can know God’s standards and view of justice by seeking out His Word on everything. We must be willing to pursue justice in our world with the same zeal that God does. We should also develop a heart that is filled with Christ’s kindness, for this is what keeps the zeal for justice in check, and this is what makes us willing to take the time and to risk truly getting to know people at the heart level. Then it all becomes functional and balance is achieved when we humbly place our own drive, desires, and thoughts under the control of the Spirit. The result is a walk through life that has the grace and the fluid movement of a champion for Christ.

He has told you, O man, what it is and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6: 8

God is a clear communicator, and He makes it rather easy to understand the way of living that He desires for His children to follow. We are to be people who live in a just and a righteous manner without demanding justice for ourselves. We are to be people who show kindness, which is often called mercy, to everyone without the expectation or the prerequirement that they will be merciful to us. This is the nature of God, for He grants the total grace of His loving forgiveness to everyone who will accept it. He does this even knowing that from God’s perspective, we are all antagonistic and hostile to His will, for we are all, in our natural states, unjust and merciless.

God’s Spirit teaches, counsels, guides, and directs us toward decisions and responses to other’s actions that will reflect His concept of what is just and how to grant mercy. Justice and kindness are key threads in the cloth of life that God has woven and that He has wrapped around every one of His children. As we seek to live in the center of our relationship with Christ, His Spirit infuses our hearts with His essential truths and with the values and the ethics that spring forth from them. Christ calls upon us to become people who value the just treatment of everyone at a very high level; so, we need to seek to interact with others in a way that reflects the grace and the mercy that Christ has shown to us.

When we actually live in this manner it means that we are required to place ourselves and our concepts of our own importance on a level that is far beneath that of God’s. Then we can become humble students of the Master, and we are more readily able to stay humble through everything that comes our way. I will not have all of the answers, but Christ does. I won’t always respond well to what others do and say, yet God has already forgiven my failure and guides me into restoration of the relationships that have been harmed. When I see my futility and powerlessness in the face of oppression and hatred in my world, the Lord simply says for me to walk with Him, and He will provide the insight and the wisdom that I require to meet the needs of the victimized and the battered. As I am weak and lacking in knowledge and understanding, Christ is with me to provide everything that I need to be bold, courageous, and loving throughout the day. 

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6: 8

 

It is not really all that complicated. That is, God’s requirements upon His people. Much of it is based upon doing to others what we would desire that they do to us. For we all want to be treated justly. Everyone desires to receive kindness. However, on many a day encountering these elements of life in God’s kingdom would be a very welcome relief from the stark reality of this world. Our cities, towns, and countryside are not just environs, and our air is rarely filled with the sweetness of loving-kindness.

 

So, if we expect to live in a manner that is based upon giving in kind with what we get, our days will be filled more with self-preservation and the acquisition of power than uplifting the weak and the disadvantaged will grace them. If we live in this worldly economy, kindness tends to become currency as it is used to buy and to sell favor. We might try to argue that this model for living is all that we know as it is what we experience, but that argument is seriously flawed.

 

As Micah says, “He has told you” and I know that He has done much more than that, too. God has shown me His way. He has come into this world and He brought the ways of the Kingdom into its dazed, damaged and confused streets. Christ lived justice and granted it to everyone without expectation of its return. He exuded kindness from the core of His being, and that deep form of love embraced even the angriest of souls that He encountered. It is clear to me that God has truly spoken, both in His Word and in the life of Christ, and He is convicting me that the most sincere form of humble submission to my Lord is to embrace justice and to tender kindness to all in every situation.

 

 

 

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you,

But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6: 8

 

It is interesting and strangely contradictory how that area of life that we call human nature can lead to some very serious questions regarding who God is and how He wants me to relate to Him. I think that almost everyone at one time or another struggles with being able and willing to do the things that we think that God requires from us. We begin to think things like, He wants too much, His standards are too hard and constricting, and these requirements are simply not realistic. So what exactly is it that God does require from people? What is it that is so hard to follow?

 

Perhaps God does get it that I am too often understanding challenged and that I need things presented to me in a straight forward and easily grasped manner. Thus, He gave me this very direct and truly simple statement of what His heart wants to see out of me. We all desire justice, at least until we are the ones who are on its receiving end. It is justice that produces a solid, trustworthy foundation for truth in life. God’s justice is always closely linked to His kindness or, as stated in other versions, His mercy, for justice without kindness is like the Law without grace; its effectiveness and its ability to truly change lives is very limited. These characteristics are bound together in our lives by staying close to their source and by surrendering our own predetermined understanding of them to His perfect one. That humble, openhearted and continual walk with the Lord is what affects the type of change in our hearts that makes this Christ-like justice with mercy a personal operating platform for life.

 

Still, what we do with this understanding is the thing that matters. When we enter into lives with an open-hearted willingness to walk through this day with others and with a preset determination to value them and to actively listen to the story that they have to tell, we bring Christ into their lives. Humility before the Lord brings us to a place where we are compelled to follow Him and to fulfill His desire to put feet to justice and loving compassion into its application. When this happens the world is touched by the redemptive hand of God, and The Spirit of Christ touches the doer with an anointing of grace.

 

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you;

But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6: 8

 

When I watch high level athletes competing in their sport, I am always amazed at the ease with which they perform so many very hard tasks under the pressure of the competitive environment. There is grace and balance in their movements that is well beyond what most of us are capable of achieving.  It is this same degree of balance that God wants us to seek in our walks with Him. Yet, it is even more important in the spiritual realm than it is in the athletic. For in our spiritual lives the stakes are much higher than any national championship, and the opposition is more focused and considerably more fierce.

 

Micah points out three characteristics to hold onto as we seek to live out God’s will in our world. Each of them is important; however, our most effective approach to life is found by embracing all three in a balanced combination that leads to a graceful and love-filled walk with the Lord. Justice without kindness can be harsh and often becomes self-serving; yet, when kindness stands on its own, people tend to be too accepting of the sinful behaviors and attitudes of others. That is no more loving than it is to stand in front of someone and shout at them about their failure to live up to God’s standards. Finally, if we embrace justice and kindness without the humility to recognize that our ability to understand these complex characteristics comes from God, Himself, we are likely to make them into causes that become greater than the God who we should be serving by engaging in their implementation.

 

So, justice is linked to kindness, kindness is linked to justice, and both are controlled by humility. We need to know God’s standards and view of justice by seeking out His Word on everything. We must be willing to pursue justice in our world with the same zeal that God does. We should also develop a heart that is filled with Christ’s kindness, for this is what keeps the zeal for justice in check, and this is what makes us willing to take the time and to risk truly getting to know people at the heart level. Then it all becomes functional and balance is achieved when we humbly place our own drive, desires, and thoughts under the control of the Spirit. The result is a walk through life that has the grace and the fluid movement of a champion.

 

He has told you, O man, what it is and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6: 8

 

God makes the way of living that He desires for His children very clear. We are to be people who live in a just, a righteous, manner without demanding justice for ourselves. We are to be people who show kindness, which is often called mercy, to everyone without the expectation or the prerequirement that they will be merciful to us. This is the nature of God, for He grants the total grace of His loving forgiveness to everyone who will accept it. He does this even knowing that from God’s perspective, we are all antagonistic and hostile to His will, for we are all, in our natural states, unjust and merciless.

 

God’s Spirit teaches, counsels, guides, and directs us toward decisions and responses to other’s actions that will reflect His concept of what is just and how to grant mercy. Justice and kindness are key threads in the cloth of life that God has woven and that He has wrapped around every one of His children. As we seek to live in the center of our relationship with Christ, His Spirit infuses our hearts with His essential truths and with the values and the ethics that spring forth from them. Christ calls upon us to become people who value the just treatment of everyone at a very high level; so, we need to seek to interact with others in a way that reflects the grace and the mercy that He has shown to us.

 

When we actually live in this manner it means that we are required to place ourselves and our concepts of our importance on a level that is far beneath that of God’s. Then we must become humble students of the Master, and we need to stay humbled through everything that comes our way. I will not have all of the answers, but Christ does. I won’t always respond well to what others do and say, yet God has already forgiven my failure. When I see my futility and powerlessness in the face of oppression and hatred in my world, the Lord simply says for me to walk with Him, and He will provide the insight and the wisdom that I require to meet the needs of the victimized and the battered.