What Does The Lord Require Of You?

My name is Alan, but you may call me Marshmallow.

At least, that’s what my dance partner used to call me—thankfully not because she wanted to skewer me with a sharp stick and toast me over a camp-fire (my dancing wasn’t quite that bad), but rather because she felt that I was just too soft for my own good.

Her viewpoint stemmed from the fact that I’m terrible at saying “no” to people when they ask me for anything. However, to suggest that this is because I’m too soft, or too nice, is simply wrong. If only I could honestly claim to be a person who has always wanted to help everyone else out, at whatever cost to myself, but I can’t. Instead, it all springs out of the completely opposite fact that I am not a great person at all!

Maybe you’re like me. For a long time now, you’ve been so down on yourself that you’re desperate for people to accept you—because you can’t accept yourself. Someone asks you to do something and the thought immediately lodges in your mind that you have to do it or otherwise risk being rejected by them. And that is the real reason behind why you always say “yes.”

Needless to say, it doesn’t work. And yet, knowing this, I still carry on doing it! I can’t shake this fear of not meeting people’s requirements. But how does that work with God? What does He require of me?

“He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you…”
Micah 6:8a (NKJV)

Have you ever considered the pressure that these words could put us under? Yes, God has shown us what is good in His world and in His Word. His perfect creation was good; His perfect Law was good; the perfect life of His Son was good; His perfect re-creation will be good. And then, when all this has been brought to mind, comes that utterly crushing question—what does God require of you and me?

God’s standard is perfection. Much as our human hearts sometimes struggle to admit it, we cannot reach the benchmark which has been set for us. We cannot simply keep saying “yes” and hope to gain God’s acceptance. And that is why what follows is one of my most treasured words in the Bible:

“… But…”
Micah 6:8b (NKJV)

To me, that simple little word seems to be bursting at the seams with hope.

Yes, God has shown us what is good and it is something to which we can never attain; yet there is still hope. The remainder of the verse is not merely frivolous—it does not say, “And what does the Lord require of you but to try really hard to be nice—whilst you’re in church, at the very least.” No, it says . . .

“… to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly…”
Micah 6:8c (NKJV)

We are to do justly – God has graciously made a way, through His Son Jesus Christ, so that our inability to reach His perfect requirements may not prevent us from receiving His acceptance. But that doesn’t mean that we can simply live however we like! (Romans 6:1-2a)

We are to love mercy – God has been merciful to us when we deserved eternal rejection, so we should be eternally grateful for that and also extend His mercy to others. (Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 6:36)

We are to walk humbly – God has shown us the extent of the severity of our condition and He has rescued us from our depravity when we could not rescue ourselves. We need to put aside our human pride and boastfulness, and instead embrace humility. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Looking at those three things, you may be thinking that God’s requirements for you are still pretty tough. I’m not going to disagree with you! The good news is that we still haven’t reached the end of this incredible verse!

“… with your God?”
Micah 6:8d (NKJV)

We are not alone. God doesn’t give us these requirements and then leave us to live it, but instead He is there for us every step of the way. There is still a challenge here, in that we need to trust Him and allow Him to lead us (lest we end up straying and no longer walking with Him), but it is such an encouragement as well. (Romans 8:31; Philippians 4:13)

I’ll probably always worry about meeting people’s requirements, to a certain extent. I’m only human and, after all, it is the way that God Himself has made me. But at the same time, God is not holding His own unattainable requirements over me. Instead, He has already made the first move in providing a way by which I might be saved. Even now, He is actively helping me along the way to that final day when He will take away my imperfections and all such worries and cares will disappear.

This verse will always remind me of that fact; I hope it might help some of you, too.

“He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?”
Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

Written By Alan Humphrey for YMI

3 replies
    • Alan
      Alan says:

      I’m glad you found it to be beneficial – and I’m still terrible at saying “no” to people, so I will almost certainly be writing again soon! (Actually, I really don’t mind saying “yes” in this instance.)

  1. Alex
    Alex says:

    Amen to that. I almost believed that for me to be a part of the group or to be accepted, I always have to say yes and be the “Yes Man”, become the pet, and give favor to everyone else. But thanks to your article, it changed my way of thinking. God bless us all =)


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