Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Great Expectations

When we choose to walk with God, we make the decision to honor Him in our daily lives.  His love is unconditional for us, and thank goodness it is because if His love was dependent on my behavior, I would be in trouble.  However, the Bible does mention some things that we can “do” that please Him, and if we love Him then we should want to please Him.

In Micah 6, the Israelites had been rebelling against God and had unthankful attitudes.  God wants to reconcile with them, and they choose to try and appease Him with sacrifices, but God tells them that He wants them to live lives full of fairness, justice, mercy and humility.  The evidence of their devotion to Him will be through their changed lives.

So, what can we learn from this?  How do these expectations look for us today?

  • Examine carefully and choose to do the right thing.
Yes, as Christians, we should want to do the “right” things, but as human beings we are frequently being tempted in many ways.  What might be a weak area of temptation for me might be an area of strength for someone else.  God knows our hearts.  He created us.  He knows our strengths and our weaknesses, but we can overcome those weaknesses through Jesus Christ.

We need to know that God is able to help us overcome these weaknesses, and understand that through Jesus, He has made us able.  If you commit to tracing God’s hand during your day (the people we encounter, the situations we face), you will see Him guiding you to the right choices.  More often than not, we know when we are making a wrong choice (and sometimes we do it anyway), but that choice will not resonate in your spirit.  

It’s not always easy, but take a step back, examine the situation and do what is right in the eyes of God.

  • Exalt Kindness and Mercy
God wants us to love mercy.  What is mercy?  It can be seen as the sister to grace.  It is the spirit of pardoning and forgiving and giving to others that are in need.  We were given this gift when our debt was nailed to the Cross and we gained this “undeserved favor” through Jesus’ sacrifice.

This takes effort and focus at times.  Our spirit needs to rule over our feelings, instead of our feelings ruling over our spirit..  Feelings can’t have rest, and if we aren’t careful and actively promoting loving kindness and mercy, spiritual apathy can set in.  

Instead of being calloused toward those who need help or a little extra forgiveness, rejoice in the fact that you have been called to help them and remain thankful that you receive this from our Father.

  • Exercise Humility
We live in a very self-centered world.  It is easy to get caught up in what WE wants for ourselves, rather than what God wants for us.  Remembering that we are able to do things because of the gifts God gave us will help us remain humble and thankful for those gifts.  

Is it possible to live in a loving, caring and selfless way as Jesus did? Of course it is, but it isn’t as simple as it sounds.  Are you willing to set everything aside to help, love, and lead someone in the image of Jesus?  

These three commandants are like a cord.  Yes, we can do each of them separately, but they fit beautifully into one strand.  As if by committing to one requirement, the other two will more easily flow.  For instance, if we do what is right in God’s eyes, we are being merciful and are walking humbly with Him.  We are also walking humbly by putting others’ needs in front of our selfish desires to get revenge or be better than someone else.  If we walk humbly with God, we will be in tune with what it means to do right.

All three of these external behaviors must emanate from internal motivation.  The Holy Spirit lives in each of us that have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, and He can help us be strong in any area of weakness.  It isn’t a permanent condition in most cases, the need to constantly ask for humility, and a love for mercy as well as making the right choices is an ongoing battle as we navigate our way through this world hoping to honor God with our lives.

Don’t give up.  God isn’t going anywhere, and He will help us grow toward Him if we seek His will with our whole hearts.  Our salvation is not based on our behavior, but God desires for us to have changed lives in order to show His love to the world.

Passages to Ponder:

Micah 6:8- No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you; to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

I Peter 5:6- So humble yourselves under the mighty power of  God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor.

Matthew 9: 13- Then He added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.

Contributors:  Karen Bromby, Kathy Derda, Susan Haynes, Kim McClure and Kristy Tolley

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