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
What does God want from me? Most seem to make the answer to this question overly complicated, too narrow or too subjective. But God has told us, again and again, what he wants from us. He has given us his law, and Jesus helps us to see its essence by pointing to love of God and neighbor as the fulfillment of the law. Here in Micah God reveals his will to us in a way that requires our attention, for the values of God are often at odds with the values of contemporary Christianity.
As we have seen in the earlier posts God wants us to do justice, not just talk about it. It must be more than a "core value" on the church website. He also expects us to love mercy, not merely perform such works outwardly. To love mercy reveals a heart that has experienced it and desires to imitate God in offering it to others. To walk humbly with God is the context in which the work of justice and the love of mercy spring forth.
What does God want from me? He wants me to walk humbly with him.
Humility is an attitude that results from an honest appraisal of ourselves before a holy and sovereign God. When we see God as perfect in holiness, righteousness and love we then more accurately understand who we are; men and women made in his image, but who have come to live in sin, value self more than God and others, and who generally love only the lovely. Humility is the response of a soul that has seen God and self and has become meek, but it is not about beating ourselves up and concluding that we are scum. Despite our sinfulness, we are not trash to be thrown away. Because we are God's creation, and still reflect his image, we have true value, and our lives are sacred. Practically humility is an attitude that admits I am no better than another (all have sinned and fall short of God's glory), and God is better than all.
What does God want? He wants us to walk in humility. "Walk" is a common biblical metaphor that indicates our manner of living. To walk humbly is to live humbly, and it implies a practice that requires effort. To walk is an exertion of the will. It takes determination, intentionality, and persistence. The humility God wants from us does not spring forth suddenly without warning in the life of Christians like some internal virtue geyser. It comes about through the presence of faith/repentance and the practice of the virtue itself.
At the same time this humility is not something that we can do on our own. He invites us to walk humbly with him. It is as we live our lives in the presence of God that humility is formed. One cannot "practice the presence of God" without learning humility. An awareness of God's holy presence in all that we do brings to light the essential spiritual value of even the most mundane things, while encouraging thoughtful, humble living, for God is truly with us.
It's important to note that the God with whom we walk is said to be "our God." This means that there is a relationship with God that produces more than fear. Knowing his love and grace toward us in Jesus Christ shatters pride, melts fear, compels us to worship and magnifies humility. Our pride is destroyed because God only accepts us as we are cleansed by the blood of Christ. Despite the pop-theology cliche, God does not accept us as we are, but as we are in Christ. Our own goodness - our best - is partial, conditional, relative, passing and superficial. We are not acceptable on our own, and as sinful men and women we are all in the same boat. One is accepted by God through Christ alone, and this acceptance, this justification kills pride. This leads to humility, for while we were at our worst, God loved us, Christ died for us, that we might know and delight in him.
What does God want from us? He wants us to value him above all things, to love the things he loves, to hate the things he hates, to reflect him in all our days on this earth. So he tells us in Micah to do justice, for God is just; to love mercy, for mercy is from God; and to walk humbly with him, for such is the state of the soul that loves him and neighbor more than self.