"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

9/6/08

His Requirements

Generally, I'm not too fond of requirements, especially if I don't meet them. I can't tell you how many times in the past I considered applying for a job, but then looked at the requirements and realized I was underqualified. I had a similar problem with my desktop computer. In fact, one of the reasons I got my laptop is because none of the free spyware or anti-virus software would run on my old operating system. I didn't meet the system requirements, so I got a newer computer so mine could be safer. I have to admit that my not meeting the requirements this time was a positive (though somewhat expensive) situation for me.

Yet, these requirements are for our own good and benefit. If I had gotten hired at one of those jobs, I would have likely never gotten my work done well, and if I'd installed those "high-tech" programs on my "low tech" computer, they probably would not have worked, or might have totally messed up my computer. So, as much as I may not like requirements, I have to admit life would certainly be more difficult and confusing without them. Life is easier and more orderly and less haphazard because of these types of requirements--at least, when we follow them.

Did you know that the Lord has requirements for His children? And they probably aren't what you're thinking. Some are found, not in the gospels--or even in the New Testament--but in the short prophetic book of Micah.
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, 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 6:7-8 NIV (emphasis mine)
First of all, I need to preface this by mentioning these are not requirements for salvation. Doing these things will not give you a "free pass" to heaven. Paul said in Romans 10:9 that "if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Nothing else you can do will give you eternal life.

No, these requirements are what the Lord expects from His children. These are what we can do to please our Heavenly Father. And there are three of them:
Act justly: do what is righteous and fair to all
Love mercy: act with and value lovingkindness and compassion
Walk humbly with your God: follow the Lord, putting His needs first and giving Him credit for all He does through you.
Now these are requirements that I think I like--and there they are, in an Old Testament book that many barely give a glance. And I'm not sure I can think of anything that isn't covered there. Some requirements, it seems, are blessings.

Can you picture what our world would be like if every person (or even "just" every Christian) followed these three simple principles? There would be no theft, no attack ads, no price gouging at the gas pump. God doesn't give us requirements like this for nothing. God has shown us "what is good." All we have to do is follow it. It may not be easy, but it is certainly what He wants. And isn't seeking and doing His will our goal?

Heavenly Father, help me to please You by acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with You. Help me to do what is good in your sight. Thank you for showing me your righteous requirements, and guide me in following them always. In the name of Your Precious Son I pray. Amen

3 comments:

  1. JoDear, that is such a great example for this lesson! You're right: requirements that bless us!

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  2. Ahhhhh, what a blessing. One of my oldie praise and worship songs is the verse of Micah 6:8. That is the kind of person I desire to be, and with Christ's help, it is absolutely possible.

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  3. Micah is a favorite OT book of mine - I studied it a while ago and for some reason feel a pull to it.

    Isn't it amazing that He asks of us what is truly for the best? Imagine we all lived like this -- what powerful unity there would be for His glory.

    Awesome. I love this!

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