Have you noticed how we can be very hard on ourselves, and unforgiving of our mistakes and failures? We hold ourselves to a very high standard, and it doesn’t help that the world we live in also places unrealistic demands on us: You need to be a successful career person and run a ship-shape home. And if you have a family, make sure you have well-behaved children, and that you’re the perfect supporting partner to your husband or wife. Consider your appearance, or the size of your pay-cheque as an indication of your worth.
I know I’m exaggerating somewhat. But what’s the standard you’re holding yourself to? And how do you feel when you seem to be dropping the balls you’re trying to juggle, and make a mess of things? I was encouraged to take a step back and ask God what HIS expectation of me was for this life He’s blessed me with. His answer to me was very simple and yet so rich! ‘Act justly, love kindness and mercy and walk humbly with your God’.
When we do what we know is just and right, His blessings for obedience will come upon us and overtake us! (Deuteronomy 28:2). And the wonderful thing is that ‘His commands are not burdensome’ (1 John 5:3). They aren’t unrealistic and difficult to keep. They don’t place a yoke upon us and weigh us down. He’s given us a Helper – His Holy Spirit – to assist us and support us in this walk of obedience.
When we choose to be kind and merciful, even to those who are difficult to get along with, God’s Word says ‘your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked’ (Luke 6:35). Kindness is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and, as such, it displays God’s character. Kindness takes our eyes off our own inadequacies and difficulties and focuses on the needs of another. When we show mercy, we in turn can be assured of God’s mercy for our own weaknesses, because ‘mercy triumphs over judgement’ (James 2:13)!
When we walk before the Lord in humility, He pours out His grace, favour and blessing upon us (1 Peter 5:5), and He’ll lift us up and make our lives ‘significant’ (James 4:10, Amp). Pride caused Satan to fall from the very presence of God. Pride blinds us to God’s greatness and grieves God’s heart. But when we walk humbly with God, and submit to His way, His plan, His best for us, it brings us into a place of safety under God’s covering, where Satan can’t touch us, and where blessing abounds.
Child of God, don’t complicate your walk with the Lord. Don’t work so hard at trying to ‘earn your stripes’ with God. What He requires of you is actually so simple: ‘Act justly, love kindness and mercy, and walk humbly with your God’!
Prayer: Lord, Your expectations of me are so simple and uncomplicated. Please help me to show kindness and mercy to those You bring across my path and to do what’s right in Your eyes at all times. Amen.
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