30 Days in the Bible, Day 14: Micah 6:6-8
In our current culture, verse 8 is used by Christians of many varieties as a summary of what God expects of us. Given that it is from an Old Testament prophecy, it’s not a bad summary- if you use all of verse 8.
Many Christians like to emphasize the first two requirements. It is absolutely true that Christians ought to not only be just themselves, but to seek to see justice done. It’s also a rare person of any persuasion, much less a Christian, who wouldn’t agree that wanting to demonstrate a loving kindness is a very good thing. We may quibble about the specifics of justice and kindness, but we recognize that these two elements go a long way toward fulfilling the second of Jesus’ two great commandments to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Sometimes, though, these two requirements get rolled into the third, and our efforts to bring justice and be kind are seen as the way we walk humbly with our God. Again, there is truth in the statement that someone who has genuinely been made new in Jesus will show justice and mercy in his or her life. As we saw in James 2, true faith has an outward expression that shows it has taken root in the heart. It may be a gradual process, but we should see ourselves becoming more just and at the same time more kind as we journey through life with our Lord.
However, to make God’s requirements for any of our works also be the sum of walking with Him not only misses the reality of our salvation, it also makes our expressions of justice and mercy hollow as well. I believe that Micah uses “humbly” for a good reason. If we rely on our own works and service to God as the substance of our salvation, we neglect the truth that it is only through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice that we are made right with God. We must approach Him humbly, seeing no good in ourselves and all of our good in Christ, if we are to be cleansed from our sin and brought into the family of God.
It is when we have begun to humble ourselves and walk with God that we can then be truly just and kind. In our world, justice and kindness can become opposites; either you’re just, or you’re kind, but the world doesn’t believe that you can be both. In Christ, we are called to show a kind justice and a just kindness as we live out the truth of salvation in our world.
So by all means memorize Micah 6:8, and don’t be afraid to use it! As you do, though, make sure you put the emphasis where it properly belongs, on our humble yielding to the Lord that makes the rest of His requirements possible in our lives.