He has shown you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you; to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
How can we know what God wants us to do? What is his will for our lives? What pleases Him? We can pray all day long and miss the answer completely, if we aren’t doing what we already know He has told us. He’s not going to answer with a different answer than he’s already recorded in the answer book, His Word.
I don’t think it’s a mystery. If we look at Micah 6:8, it seems very simple. He’s already shown you what is good, and what He requires of you.
1. Do justly–do what is right…The Bible is full of instruction regarding “righteous” behavior. A lot of it is instruction on how “not” to be, the “shalt nots” if you will. Is it “right” to lie, steal, cheat, or murder? How about gossip, slander, or abuse? Of course not. Don’t live that way. Avoid even the appearance of evil. Sex outside of marriage, gluttony, selfishness…all of these are “unjust”, they are ways of life that are not honest, fair, or right, according to God’s standard. Living in them while we say we love God is a lie, we have become our own judge, and disregarded the Lawgiver for the sake of our own convenience. In short, we make ourselves, our own limited understanding, and our will to be our “god”, which ultimately makes us idolaters.
2. Love mercy–Some synonyms for mercy are: blessing, charity, forbearance, forgiveness, kindness, tenderness and tolerance. Of course, I love mercy, we all do…when it’s extended to us. We need to embrace the opportunities of extending mercy to others. God’s will is that because of our love of mercy, we become merciful to others…and I’m gonna go out on a limb here, and suggest that we start with our families. We often hurt the ones we love the most with our unkindness, intolerance and neglect. God wants us to love mercy, so we can extend His mercy to others through us.
3. Walk humbly with God–walk humbly? Reminds me of the riddle: If you think you have it, you probably don’t; if you have it, you probably won’t know it. What is it? A: Humility. It’s the opposite of pride/arrogance. To walk humbly with God means putting aside all of what we think we know, and possess, and aspire to, in favor of hearing and knowing and doing what God says. It might involve sacrifice of something that we hold dear, or something from which we receive our sense of self-worth. It might be a lifestyle, a job, or tightly held ideals and dreams that God requires us to turn over to Him. For the rich young ruler, it was his material wealth…whatever it is, we can know we are doing His will if we are walking humbly with God.
I find when I’m feeling far from God, one of these is “off” in my world. Either I’m being unfair, unmerciful, or proud. When I’m looking for His will, or for guidance in decision-making, this is where I start. I ask myself, “is this fair to those I love, is it an opportunity to extend mercy to others, what are my motivations in desiring this?” If my main motivation is for God and His will in my life, I can expect these to line up.