Micah 6:8 answers the question "What does God want from me?" by giving us three simple points: "He has shown you, O mortal, 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." Let’s look more closely at each of those three points so we can better understand what God wants from each of us.
We hear often about God being loving, and that is true (1 John 4:16). But love is not all there is about God’s character. He is also completely just (Psalm 9:7; 89:14). We get our understanding of justice from our Creator, who designed us in His own image (Genesis 1:27). God gives justice to every human being and requires that we also act justly, regardless of a person’s background, ethnicity, or social standing.
As part of the law He gave to Israel, God commanded that His people deal fairly with the nations around them and with the foreigners who resided among them (Deuteronomy 24:17; Jeremiah 22:3). He gave special attention to the most helpless citizens, such as widows and orphans (Zechariah 7:10; cf. James 1:27), and commanded His people to give them justice.
If we intend to live in fellowship with God, He requires that we deal honestly and fairly with those around us (Proverbs 18:5). Part of acting justly is keeping our word and defending the helpless. Just people honorably face the consequences of their own mistakes and allow other people to experience their own consequences. People who act justly can be trusted because they learn from their mistakes and strive to never repeat them.
Mercy is extending another chance to someone who does not deserve it. Jesus was a perfect balance of justice and mercy (John 1:14). He came to earth in order to satisfy the justice of God by paying for our sins (1 John 2:2; 2 Corinthians 5:19) and to demonstrate the mercy of God toward us. Jesus was eager to show mercy toward anyone who repented of sin (John 8:10-11; Luke 23:42-43). In order to follow His example, we must learn to forgive those who sin against us (Matthew 18:23-35). We should rejoice when someone is shown mercy, remembering how much mercy God has shown us (Luke 6:35–36).
We show mercy by being quick to forgive, slow to judge, and always ready to share our hope with those who cross our paths (1 Peter 3:15). Our hearts are prone to selfishness and anger when someone violates our rights. We learn to love mercy by intentionally choosing it over revenge and celebrating the opportunity given to another person to become all God created them to be.
Acting justly and loving mercy are fine qualities, but those things are still possible for those who don't know God. Atheists can be moral, upstanding citizens. And many soft-hearted people show mercy—regardless of their faith choices. But the third part of being who God wants us to be is the most important and validates the other two. We must walk humbly with our God. This means first coming to Him the way He has instructed—through Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
We continue to walk humbly with our God by accepting His authority in our lives, confessing our sin, and seeking His blessing and approval on our life decisions. God is not merely one part of our lives, He IS our life (Galatians 2:20).
As we grow in our faith, we continue to surrender more areas of our lives to His control. We daily deny ourselves sinful temptations, surrender our lives to Christ, and follow His teaching about how to live life (Luke 9:23). Only when we keep our lives free from idolatry, worldliness, and compromise (1 John 5:21) can we walk humbly with our God.
What God wants from us is that we "become conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29). When we surrender our lives to His lordship, He moves into our hearts and takes on the task of shaping us into the people He wants us to be (1 Corinthians 6:19)—people who act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him. Our reward is the smile in our souls knowing we are pleasing to Him and the expectation of one day hearing Him say, "Well done!" (Luke 19:17)
God wants us to "to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). Showing justice means we keep our word, defend the helpless, own up to our mistakes, and treat all people justly—no matter their background (Proverbs 18:5). We show mercy by being quick to forgive, slow to judge, and always ready to share our hope with those who cross our paths (1 Peter 3:15). We walk humbly with God by accepting His authority, confessing sin, and seeking His blessing and approval. God is not merely one part of our lives, He IS our life (Galatians 2:20).