Micah 6:8 –“He has showed you what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
I am going to talk about the importance of a meaningful relationship with God. This is the most important relationship you can ever have. (Do you agree?) And yet, if you are honest, that’s not really the case to many. We’re over worked, over tired, over connected with social media, but spiritually undernourished.
And surely it is evident in our relationships to our God. It is not so meaningful as we perhaps would like it to be. As a result our relationship with our loved ones and things around us, even our perspective are affected.
The demands of modern society have significantly overtaken God’s purposes in our lives. I am sorry to say this but we all have become addicts. We’re all addicted to Facebook, cell phones, twitters and other unnecessary stuff. Just like smoking, if we allow these behaviours to become ingrained in our lives, we can get addicted on the juice of Satan’s tricks that may make us feel good but the behaviours they create in us may be very counterproductive to our walk with God.
Jesus gave emphasis on relationship in Matthew 10:37– He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Let me ask you, do you love your father and mother? ___? How about the things you enjoy in life, are they more than your father and mother? ____?
And yet here, Jesus is telling us that our love for Him must exceed our love for our parents. We all find comfort in relationships, therefore, you might as well put God first and place great importance in your with Him from whom all blessings flow.
We are instructed in Deut. 6:5 -Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. The same thing in Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus said: ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.’
Our love for God must exceed everything else. The problem today is much like what the Prophet Micah encountered in his day. Too many Christians have created to themselves a religion of convenience and comfort that suits their personal tastes or preferences.
And so, they engage in various “religious practices.” When I say religious practices, I am not talking about rituals. I am talking about the “Christian things” we do, come to church, bring some offerings, being nice to people, helping, assisting, even forgiving. I am not saying they are bad. They are actually good. But the question is, the manner you are doing these things, is it building a meaningful relationship with Christ?
This what Jesus said to the religious Pharisees in Matt 23:23 -Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
What are the things that ought to be done? Judgment, mercy, and faith! I can make a series out of these three. But these three ought to result to a meaningful relationship with God. As I said in the Bible Study the other night, judgment is judge for yourself is in all honesty all you do is pleasing and glorifying to God. Oftentimes, we are guilty of watering down the very intent and purposes for a meaningful relationship with God by not seeking Him first and by a lot of excuses.
Every time we are negligent in missing out the feeding of the bread of life, which is to sustain our spiritual make up; when we have little desire for prayer and communion with God, we lose a meaningful relationship with God. When you see yourself with growing fondness to worldly pleasure, you are losing a meaningful relationship with God.
There are things required of us by God. One of these is being a good steward of our time and resources. Another is witnessing and soul-winning. Today many Christians are attempting to modernize the Biblical teachings by modifying them to suit personal preferences and the practices of this generation. Their thinking is that if we do certain religious deeds or engage in certain religious activities, then that’s good enough. But is it?
Is that really what God requires of us? No, of course not! They are “works-maintenance” approach and it doesn’t work; it never has and it never will. While God do require of us “to do justly,” He requires much more than mere religious practices. A form of godliness can never compare with true godliness! Our all too common practices of religious busywork and dutiful rituals are no substitute for true righteousness, no matter how good it may look.
These types of “sacrifices and offerings,” the good deeds done in the energy of our flesh, does not impress God. Even the best that we can do, God says is like filthy rags in His sight. But according to the promise of Micah 5:2, God sent forth His Son Jesus Christ to rule over us as the Lord of our life. This indicates that God has so much more in store for you than merely keeping rules and rituals. He desires a meaningful relationship with you!
“Love mercy” contains the Hebrew word, which means “loyal love” or “loving-kindness.” Along with justice, Israel was to provide mercy. Both justice and mercy are foundational to God’s character (Psalm 89:14 -Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.). God expected His people to show love to their fellow man and to be loyal in their love toward Him, just as He had been loyal to them (Micah 2:8-9; 3:10-11; 6:12).
That is why Micah 6:8 goes on to say that He requires us to “walk humbly with our God.” “Walk” is a reference to one’s conduct or manner of life. To walk with God means that you share His life, interact with Him, and participate with Him in His plans and purposes. But walking with God this way requires humility. A humble person recognizes his utter hopeless, helpless condition and his total dependence of the Lord.
Therefore, he submits himself to the Lord totally daily, not only on Sundays. Only as we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, will we have the enabling grace of God to do justly and love mercy. Justice and mercy are Divine attributes. They come from God alone and are available to us through Jesus Christ, solely by grace through faith.
This renders us to be humbling ourselves under the Lord’s authority in obedience, because God gives grace to the humble. When you humble yourself before the Lord, you will begin to walk in unison with your Lord. His grace will enable us to love mercy and do justly.
With the Holy Spirit directing our life, we will experience a deeper relationship with God and you will grow in your ability to trust Him more and more. Growing in our relationship with Jesus means to know Him better, to love and obey Him more. Your growing love for God in obedience will surely lead to a sweet meaningful relationship with Him.
Jesus said, He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21) Just as it’s natural for a child to grow in a loving relationship with a parent, it should also be natural for us to grow in our love relationship with God.
How can you grow in your relationship with Jesus? Right now, in our Bible Study, we are studying about Communication with God. Communication is vital to any relationship. So let me give you Four Aspects of Communication that will help develop our relationship with Jesus.
1. God communicates with us through the Bible, revealing His character and His will.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
2. We need to communicate with God through prayer, sharing our thoughts, our needs and our desire to do his will. These verses tell us we can pray about everything. When we pray according to God’s will, he hears us and answers us. Thanking God and praising Him must be the most part of praying. Look at these verses.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (1 John 5:14-15)
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20)
3. We need to communicate and intercede with fellow believers through fellowship, encouraging and building up one another. It is important to spend time with our brothers and sisters in the Lord to encourage each other to love and do good. The word fellowship means, “sharing in common.”
We need to share with each other our godly experiences not share worldly and dirty jokes or stories not edifying to a meaningful relationship with Christ. God appoints the church as a place for us to meet other Christians and learn about God. Bible studies and other meetings are also helpful.
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
4. We communicate with others who don’t know God personally by sharing about our relationship with Jesus. I have found a new way of sharing Jesus to people. After pleasantries of getting each other’s name, I would ask, “Are you saved?” I find that no one is offended by it because they don’t understand what I meant in that question.
And so they would likely engage a conversation with you and say, what do you mean. Then you can start in sharing what you believe. Acts 4:12 – Neither is or (there is NO) salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved)
Here are few suggestions for Christian growth
Set aside a time and place for daily personal Bible study and prayer. Purpose it in your heart. Start with the passages that we have in this lesson. Book readers will always set a time to read because they love reading.
You got to teach yourself to love to read. Psalms 1, 23, 34, 103 and 145; Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 9:23-26; John 15:1-7; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; and Colossians 1:9-12 are chapters you can start reading. And as you read, underline verses you find particularly meaningful. Pray and ask God to show you who He is and how you can respond to Him.
This is the beginning of a meaningful relationship with Christ. And there is much more to discover than what’s covered in these four lessons. Take the initiative not to miss Sunday School and the preaching of God’s words regularly.