“What does the Lord require of you? To do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.”
Often we look to the Bible for comfort when we are in the midst of chaos, anxiety, or stress. There are tons of verses which illustrate the rest and comfort God provides for us – but this verse is not one of them. I like to think of Micah 6:8 as a challenge and a guidepost, pointing me in the right direction. This verse, in its 10 little words of instruction, have often served as a checklist for me. I’ll tell you how.
I’ve been reading a book lately about a concept called “life design.” It’s basically the idea that you can treat your life as like you would a prototype for a product, or a business. You evaluate the different elements and figure out how they work together. If something isn’t working, you eliminate it. If something is missing, you add it. While reading the book, I’ve been doing exercises, mapping out the different parts of my life and trying to see whether, when you put them all together, they reflect my values. I did an inventory of each activity I do each week and which of my values they express. It looked something like this:
I could go on and on, of course, because I seem to have an endless list of events on my calendar. But I just wanted you to get the main idea of the exercise. When I finished making my list, I thought about the big picture and the verse from Micah came to mind. I decided to treat it like a checklist, to evaluate my current “life design”:
I asked myself “Am I doing justice?” And my answer was yes, I feel like my work at the college-in-prison program contributes to justice. Also, in my discussion group at church, we talk a lot about how God intended the world to be, so maybe that’s another way I make justice a priority. At the same time, though, there are lots of unjust situations in the world that I am not doing anything about – so of course, there is room to grow.
On to the next question “Do I love kindness?” This one was hard to answer, because sometimes I treat others kindly, but at other times I am just plain grouchy, snarky, or sarcastic. I thought back through my relationships with my coworkers, husband, and friends over the last few weeks. I was resentful and distant with a few people. There was one friend I was especially nice to. The answer to this one? I’m making progress but I’m not there yet. Note to self: work on the kindness thing.
And now to question three: “Am I walking humbly with God?” This question has two parts – first, am I walking humbly, and second, am I doing that with an awareness that God is with me? The answer to this one is also a challenge. First, walking humbly. I take a lot of pride in my achievements, which can sometimes take away from my relationships with others and with God. I have to practice humility to make it a habit – it doesn’t come all that naturally to me. And as for having an awareness that God is with me – I do go to church and LOG every week, but in between those structured events I don’t always remember to pray. Sometimes I feel alone and forget that God is there. So this too, is an area for growth.
You’ve just learned a lot about me, but I hope the broader takeaway here is that Micah 6:8 and its standards that God sets up for each of us are a great tool for evaluating our lives. We can name the good things we are already doing while also recognizing our imperfections. Wherever you go, whether it’s school, work, home, or off to college, this verse can provide a perfect framework for designing your life. It’s a challenge, but I find it a meaningful, motivating one.