Saturday, May 9, 2009

What Does God Require?

by Donna L. Watkins

Common courtesies are become uncommon. There are fewer please and thank you's mentioned and kindness seems to be harder to find in our daily lives. The Bible tells us to be courteous that we might inherit a blessing (I Peter 3:9), but in our rushing to and fro lifestyles, few appear to allocate time for courtesy.

© 2009 Collared Peccary Mom - La Selva Biological Station - Costa Rica
Courtesy is defined by the dictionary as:

Polite behavior; A polite gesture or remark; Willingness or generosity in providing something needed

Do we lead by example? Do we take time to teach our children character through our own behaviors? We are continually teaching by our lifestyle and what they see from us on a daily basis in all of life's situations.

Children will either make us better people for our want for them to be better people ... or they will sadly miss out on learning character. Skills and talents are important, but without character, all of our knowledge and abilities are stunted. Knowledge may be power, but wisdom is the plug that creates a spark.

We are told to live in such a way that people around us will praise our God (Matthew 5:16 - "let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven").

How can we tie common courtesy into Scriptural context? Scripture I have often pondered while wondering what God truly wants of me is in Micah 6:6-8:

With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 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.

It's so simply stated. We act justly when we choose to do right whether it's difficult or not. We reap what we sow, so it's wise to look for opportunities to sow justice and mercy. Proverbs 16:24 says, "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul [mind, will and emotions] and healing to the bones." That's a harvest I want to reap.

The definition of 'just' is:

Honorable and fair in one's dealings and actions: a just ruler.
Consistent with what is morally right; righteous: a just cause.
Suitable or proper in nature; fitting: a just touch of solemnity.
Based on fact or sound reason; well-founded: a just appraisal.

If we act justly and love mercy, we will walk more humbly before our God, and we will entice others to walk behind us on that path. The world needs to see something different within us. You'll find that it feels really good and you will delight in the results it brings to your family.

Isaiah 58:8 comes to mind:

"Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free, And break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard."

We all need recovery within our bodies and minds. We needs bands broken and oppressions freed. Sowing into others reaps benefits within our own lives and the lives of our family. Whether we sow physical bread, clothes and housing, or provide monetary funds for others to do so, life will be brighter for you and healing will occur within our hearts and minds. And most of all ... God will be glorified.

Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.

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