What does God require?

This is a re-post from “The Brook Network”. I am very interested in the work Mel Lawrenz is doing on spiritual influence. Mel is the Minister-at-Large from Elmbrook Church. http://www.thebrooknetwork.org/about/

What Does God Require?   

by Mel Lawrenz

All of us wrestle with the expectations that other people have of us. The only expectations that matter, ultimately, are God’s expectations. If we live up to those, with God’s help, we will be fulfilling the reasonable expectations others have. The prophet Micah said, “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). God has shown us what is good. He has not left us in the dark. We don’t need to invent or reinvent the mission of God.

“To act justly.”

The word justice appears over four hundred times in the Old Testament. Justice is when things are right, or when they are set right. Justice is the act of confronting chaos and bringing order. That means advocating for people who are oppressed or are being taken advantage of, teaching about the God-ordered life, counseling people whose lives are in disarray, guiding people who are morally confused, analyzing inequities, promoting fairness. Justice is peace, security, and life. “Act justly” means doing it, not just talking about it. People are inspired when they see leaders who are driven by a sense of justice and who respect the requirements of justice for themselves. They especially appreciate those who are fair-minded and even-handed.

“To love mercy.”

Mercy includes forbearing and forgiving the failings and foibles of family members, raising our kids with mercy (along with justice), giving people a second chance, responding to disadvantaged people who need an advocate. But Micah 6:8 goes beyond occasional acts of mercy; it speaks of “loving mercy.” We need to go looking for opportunities to show mercy, not just deliberate when a need arises. Now, there are some people who will warn us not to be too merciful. They’re concerned that we will be weak, or will foster dependency, or get our eyes off the work that needs to be done. But the work is this: do justice, love mercy. It is impossible to be too merciful if we are fully committed to justice. Justice prevents mercy from becoming permissiveness (which is really just moral laziness). And mercy makes justice human, keeping it rooted in God’s grace-filled nature.

“To walk humbly with God.”

Spiritual influence cannot happen without humility. This small phrase–to walk humbly with God–offers a great picture of the meaning of humility. It is a walk–that is, a lifestyle, a posture, and a forward movement. As a “walk,” humility is a continual string of opportunities in life. Every attitude, every decision, every conversation. Every relationship, every email, every purchase. And humility is defined by relationship with God–to walk humbly with God. There is a wonderful clarity here: if we walk with God, that is, with a steady awareness of God’s presence and authority over every area of life, then we have every reason not to pretend that we are God–and that is exactly what humility is. Humility includes admitting mistakes and sins, but it is more than that. Humility means living as the creatures we were created to be.

In the end, it is possible to exceed the expectations other people have of us–but we get there only by being obsessed with the expectations God has of us.

[Excerpt from Spiritual Influence: the HIdden Power Behind Leadership.]

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