What God Requires of You
“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
One of the main things that believers often want to know is what choice they are to make next. Where should they go? What should they do? To what ministry or occupation are they called? Sometimes believers find themselves waiting on the fulfillment of a promise from the Lord or for a situation to change. During the times in our lives where the path seems a little unclear, I have found that the principle shown in the above verse from Micah can bring peace and even a little clarity.
The Lord knows that we do not know the future. He knows that we cannot control all circumstances. He doesn’t require us to make “right” decisions; rather, He requires us to make good decisions. Rightness implies the need to get to a certain outcome–but only God is sovereign, and only He knows what the “right” outcome is according to His plan and purpose. As theologian Philip Cary said, while it is true in His word that He has plans for us, He doesn’t say that we need to know what those plans are. (and if we do, He is certainly able to tell us!) We don’t have to know what God’s ultimate plans are in order to make decisions that glorify Him. No matter where we are in life, what the situation or question is, the Lord’s will for us is to do what is good. Theresa of Avila would call this following the “path of love.” We discern the best path by looking at what path will produce goodness in our lives and that of others. Or, to follow Theresa of Avila’s thought more closely, we follow the path that is inspired by and encourages love of God and love of others. That concept might seem obvious on its face, but in reality, many times we are motivated by many things other than love; and when we shine the light of love on our hearts, we see that what is moving us isn’t actually glorifying to God, nor for the betterment of those around us.
Micah asks, “…what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” He’s saying that there isn’t more that the Lord requires of us than that. He has already told us what is good to do, now we just have to do it. It’s up to us to exercise our minds to understand how to do good and to figure out what justice and kindness mean in the contexts of our lives. If we don’t know, we can ask Him for wisdom, and He will give it. (James 1:5)
We can spin our wheels trying to know exactly what choice is the right thing. But it’s not about right or wrong. When we instead focus on discerning what is good, we then put ourselves in the position where God’s Spirit can then direct our spirit, because we are focused on Him and the fruit of His Spirit instead of what we hope to happen or think ought to happen.
Wherever and however God leads us, His ultimate goal is that we will love Him with all that we are and love our neighbors as ourselves. When we focus on doing what is good, we are guaranteed to produce good fruit. So, if we find ourselves a little stuck regarding a decision, meditating on what simply loving Him and our neighbor would look like in this situation is a great place to start.