Maybe It Really Is That Simple
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 (NIV)
Life has a way of being complicated. I wish the right decision were always obvious. But whether that decision has to do with relationships, responsibilities or resources, I can get confused. Especially now.
I’ve come to a time in my life where I’m not sure which path to take. At one time God’s direction was clear. But now … things have changed. What was once life-giving, seems life-draining. It’s time to do something new.
But what if I’m wrong? Perhaps God is calling me to persevere despite the hardship. Or maybe I’ve completed my assignment, and it’s time to move on. Couldn’t God just use a holy highlighter and give me a sign?
Have you ever faced a decision where the right choice was unclear?
I used to think God had one path for me, and I had to choose rightly or miss God’s best. But more than ever, I realize God wants my heart in the right place, and the way I serve Him is secondary.
Throughout history, God’s people have consistently gotten these two things mixed up. It’s in our human nature to want to control and manipulate things, even God’s approval. There’s some comfort in creating rituals and rules; then we always know where we stand in comparison.
Although God certainly established rules for our good, He never meant for those rules to replace a relationship with Him. God wants us to trust Him rather than a set of guidelines.
With as many good choices as we face today, it can feel impossible to know which one is right for us. We can either over-commit because we want desperately to serve God or under-commit because we have decision-paralysis or we’ve just given up trying.
The Israelites seemed to have the same problem. For generations, they either became legalistic trying to please God with their religious sacrifices, or they gave up and grew hard hearts.
In the time of the prophet Micah, the people’s hearts were far from God. They’d created a religion based on rituals and rules that no one could keep. Some even abandoned God and worshipped idols. And yet God continually called them back to a relationship with Him.
Micah tried to tell the people that following God was really much simpler than they made it out to be: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
I imagine some of the religious folk having a problem with that simplified version of faith. Or maybe agreeing but wanting to add a few hundred rules to it. But Micah clearly communicated God’s desire through that prophesy — just three things are required: justice, mercy and humility.
It’s interesting to note that although there is action involved, each of those requirements starts with a soft and loving heart. We won’t act justly if we harbor resentment or hate. We won’t show kindness and mercy if we seek to serve ourselves. And a prideful heart will always walk ahead of God.
Could those three conditions apply to me today? Maybe all God is asking of me is to stand for what is right … to choose kindness … and to walk closely to Him, submitting my will daily.
Perhaps I’m making my choice harder than I have to. If I strip away all the man-made rules and all the expectations I’ve placed on myself, and if God hasn’t clearly spoken to me, then the only thing that matters is if my heart is in the right place: near God’s.
If God’s pursued the hearts of His children for thousands of years, He is certainly still pursuing yours and mine. And we won’t find a relationship with Him through routine obedience or service. In fact, God the Father sent His Son Jesus so those who believe in Him could have God’s presence residing in us — the closest relationship possible.
If you are facing a choice today that’s kept you frozen in indecision, I hope God’s Word encourages you. Maybe it really is this simple. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God. Now, the choice is yours.
Heavenly Father, thank You for not adding burdens to this already-difficult life and for making Your way simple. Help me to not make it any harder than it has to be, and to be more concerned with the condition of my heart than making the perfect choice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (NIV)
John 20:31, “But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.” (NLT)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Which do you struggle with more: acting justly, loving mercy, or walking humbly with God?
Are you facing a difficult choice today? Pray for God to help you live out Micah 6:8 in greater measure.