As you read the Bible, have you ever felt overwhelmed with everything that’s in it? Do you ever wonder, how can I possibly live this way? If you have, don’t feel bad; you’re not alone.
The biblical authors themselves recognized the need to boil things down into their essence. There may be 613 commandments in the Law of Moses, but what does God really want from me?
The prophet Micah sought to summarize what God desires from us: “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).
Micah’s summary did not offer propositions for us to believe, or durations of spiritual activities (i.e., pray for a half-hour, read your Bible for an hour). His instructions focus primarily on how we treat others and then our submission to God. In other words, he focuses more on how we actually live; not just what we believe or confess.
Biblical faith takes the form of active obedience. It is not a series of logical propositions we agree with, or ritual activity that appeases God. It’s obedience to Him, which is usually manifested in how we care for and treat those around us. That is the essence of biblical faith and spirituality. That is what God desires of us.
When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, He responded citing Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength,” and added the second is like it, “Love your neighbor who is like yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39; Mark 12:28-31; Luke 10:25-28).
Jesus’ summary of what God wants from us, like Micah, centers chiefly on how we live in relationship to God and those around us.
We can often make things too complicated. We try to achieve some special spiritual revelation (often attributing that to our heightened spirituality). While the Bible contains a lot of instruction, it expresses the earnest desire to help us clearly understand what God desires.
We see this in the words of Micah and Jesus: love God and love each other. Do you want to please God? Then, simply, do this!
Father, in everything I say and do, may I be consumed with love for you and those around me. Amen.