Diffuse Reflections
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The Requirements for Righteousness


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“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” ~ Micah 6:8

Whenever one might wonder the secret of living righteously–how we should live–this verse gives the answer. It (the last clause of the verse) might be rephrased this way:

  1. DO RIGHT.
  2. Be patient when others fail to DO RIGHT.
  3. Follow the ONLY One who ALWAYS will DO RIGHT.

The verse wisely carries us through a progression that challenges us first to do what is right, to “do justly”. This Scripture outlines for us what God wants us to do, it explains how a righteous man/woman should live.

However, ALL Believers seeking to follow God quickly realize how difficult it is to live in obedience to Him, to His Word. Our inner lusts drive us away from the right course The Holy Spirit shows us in God’s Word. We find life is a constant challenge to subjugate our will to God’s Will. A challenge we often lose. We end up like Paul declaring:

“For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O WRETCHED man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” ~ Romans 7:22-24

Despite sincere (and not-so-sincere) effort we often get it wrong. We know what to do, but somehow we often fail to do it.

The second step of the progression is to recognize that others, our brothers/sisters also go through a similar struggle. Therefore, rather than condemnation, we should readily offer them mercy. Just as we wrestle our own personal set of weaknesses, so do they. If we were to live a day in their shoes would we do any better? Despite our many advantages, we haven’t mastered our own weaknesses and lusts. Why should we expect our brothers/sisters to manage theirs?

Indeed, sometimes our only achievement is to hide our sinful thoughts and deeds better than others do. As Jesus explained,

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” ~ Matthew 5:27-29

Consequently, a primary hallmark of life of a believer is mercy. We see in the failings of our brothers/sisters our own struggles with sin and mercy comes flooding out of our bowels because if they are condemned then so are we.

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering” ~ Colossians 3:12

The third and final step in the progression is to walk with the only One who Always Does Right: God. As we recognize our failings, our abject inability to do justly, we are impelled to draw more closely to The Just One. As we recognize our need, and our brother’s/sister’s need for mercy, we MUST draw closer to the source of mercy.

How can I survive on my own?
I can’t make it all alone.
I have tried to do right, but I fail over and over again.
When will I overcome my weakness? When? When!
I look to my brother, and he is struggling too.
Lord, have mercy on me and my brother we NEED You.

Moreover, as Scripture reminds us:

“For the law made nothing perfect [We can’t Do Right on our own even when we know what to do], but the bringing in of a better hope [Salvation through Jesus Christ] did; by the which we [Me and my brother] draw nigh unto [Walk with] God.” ~ Hebrews 7:19

“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you…” ~ James 4:8a

We KNOW what God wants from us… By His Grace and Mercy let us (my brother and me) draw ever so near to Him so that we can finally do it!

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