(by Heather Marshall)
Did you have a favorite playground game that you played with your friends when you were a child? One of my favorites was “Simon Says,” a classic game in which one child was given the role of “Simon.” The child playing Simon had the privilege of calling out commands for the other children to follow.
During the course of this game, amid the sound of anticipatory laughter, one could hear “Simon” call out, “Simon says, Hop!” Or, my favorite command, “Simon says, RUN!” The kids then scrambled to get to the other side of the playground successfully.
Our lives can be likened to a real-life version of this game as we seek to navigate successfully to the “other side.” God has laid out commands for us to follow in this pursuit, commands that He calls good. “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” (Micah 6:8).
God’s commands are good because they are the path to an abundant life. The Lord Jesus is the fulfillment of all of God’s commands (Matthew 5:17), and He could say of Himself, “I have come that that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10). Jesus gives us His life so we can flourish and thrive both now and eternally.
We receive an abundant life when we accept the gift of salvation from our sins through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross (Ephesians 2:8-9). Once we receive His provision, we then desire to honor and serve Him and one way we do this is by following the commands that He lays out for us. Micah 6:8 connects our faith with our actions, our care for those in need with our walk with God.
God says, “Do what is right.”
In Micah’s day, the people of Israel had lost sight of doing what was right. They were acting unjustly towards others, especially the poor and disadvantaged. The rulers and religious leaders were taking advantage of their positions and were leading the people astray. Instead of seeking to build their people up, they were tearing them down.
As Christians, we are doing what is right when we seek the good of others. God calls us to treat others in a way that encourages their growth and enables them to develop in the gifts that God has placed in them. Galatians 6:10 says, “Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Doing good to the family of believers could look like babysitting for a busy Mom so she can have some time to focus on her spiritual needs, or taking time to read, sing, or pray with a person who is shut in. We can ask God to open our eyes to the needs around us and to have a willing heart to do what is right for others.
God says, “Love mercy.”
This is the Hebrew word chêsêd, which can be used to refer to God’s lovingkindness to us. God is calling us to show to others the same kind of compassion that He showed us. This reminds me of Jesus’ words in John 13:34: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” Jesus loved us sacrificially; He gave Himself for us and forgave us of all our sins.
We need to have this same mindset towards others. Unfortunately, it is easy for our hearts to harden and our minds to judge. When we find ourselves veering toward critical thinking about others, we need to hear God say once more, “As my child, love mercy, for that is what you have received.”
God says, “Walk humbly with your God.”
Walking humbly is the basis for doing right and loving mercy. We first need to humble ourselves under the Lordship of God for our lives, and then, with His direction, seek to fully invest in those around us through showing mercy and doing what is right.
The metaphor of “walking with God” is used often throughout Scripture to describe the overall direction one’s life is headed. In Galatians 6, we are given several pictures of walking with God. Verse 16 says, “So I say walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” In verse 25 we read, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
I love the image here of following in the Spirit’s steps. I might not know the full picture of where I am going and how to get there but I can just focus on doing the next right thing, putting my foot in His footsteps that are directly ahead of me.
The words of the Sunday School chorus “Trust and Obey” come to mind:
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Friends, let’s be encouraged by these three powerful instructions that God has for us to follow.
God says, “Do what is right, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.”
With the Spirit’s power as we live out these commands, we can make a huge impact on the world around us by demonstrating that we belong to the family of God (John 13:35). Through our testimonies, others will be drawn to do what God says. And following what God says is the best and only way to truly live!