Micah 6:8

Verse of the Day Devotion: Micah 6:8

“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you.  But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8

In verses 1 and 2, Micah is appealing to the people to hear Yahweh’s revelation to them, God’s grievance against them.  God is laying out a case like one of a legal nature.  This could be called “Yahweh” vs “Israel”.  He was basically initiating the legal proceedings.

This grievance can be seen in verses 3-5.  “My people, what have I done to you, and how have I wearied you? Answer Me.  Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt and ransomed you from the house of slavery, And I sent before you Moses, Aaron and Miriam.  My people, remember now What Balak king of Moab counseled and what Balaam son of Beor answered him, And from Shittim to Gilgal, So, that you might know the righteous acts of the LORD.”  Micah 6:3-5.  They appear to have grown tired of God.  He then lists several events in history to show His goodness to them.

Moving into verses 6-7, we see that Israel saw that they were wrong and began to call out, one man after another, what they need to do to make things right.  One asked should he come before Him with burnt offerings of yearling calves, this being one of the choice offerings within the law.  Another asked are thousands of rams to be offered and rivers of the oil offered with the sacrificed.,  One asked should he offer his first borne.  Some of these things were acceptable sacrifices, other were not.

Micah then tells the people, in our focus verse, that God has told them what was good and what He desired of them.  We see this in the following verse  “Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the LORD’S commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?”  Deuteronomy 10:12-13.  They have heard this before; however, they had forgotten, and God brought it back to their minds.

So, let’s examine these three points found in our focus verse, which apply to us as well.  First, to uphold justice.  We are to judge righteously with no favoritism.  To judge fairly without improperly favoring any side in the judgement.  Jesus put it this way, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” John 7:24. Something may look wrong; however, it may not be wrong.  We must investigate any situation and ensure that what we declare is righteous.

Next, to love kindness.  Other translations say love mercy.  We are to show our love by being kind and merciful.  We are to be kind to one another, not using severity toward our brothers and sisters, but being compassionate to others, especially when we are wronged.  Show everyone that we love them and desire God’s best for them.

And lastly, to walk with God in an attitude of humility.  Keeping a constant and loving relationship with our loving God.  Remembering that it is God’s will to be done, not our own which is the picture of arrogance whereby we believe our ways are better.  Keeping His commandments which is the proof of our love to Him.  “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”  John 14:15.

What God requires of us is love, toward others through upholding justice and loving mercy.  Then toward God by walking continually and humbly with Him.  Works done based on following rules is not what He desires.  He requires our love.  He showed us His through Jesus’ death for our sins to reconcile us with Himself.  Showing Him our love as Micah 6:8 tells us is not asking too much from us.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Galatians 5:22-23

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Galatians 5:22-23 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23

This section of scripture speaks of the dichotomy of the flesh and the Spirit.  It starts with the following, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16.  He is telling Christians they must walk by the Spirit because then they will not focus and fulfil the things of the flesh.  This is so because if the Spirit of God dwells in and rules our heart, then the whole carnal mind will be defeated.  In other word, the only way to overcome the corrupt desires and propensities of our nature is to submit to the influences of the Holy Spirit.  And he goes on in the next verse to describe this dichotomy.  “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” Galatians 5:17.  Paul is saying here that both of these things are in opposition to each other.  As Christians, when we want to do what is right, our flesh wars against us.  But, if we want to do what is wrong, then the Spirit clarifies this wrong to you.  Paul spoke of this struggled in His letter to the Romans.  “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” Romans 7:19.  Paul himself struggled, but He fought it off and lived the life devoted to Christ. However, he was not under the law as the devout Jews were, for He was led by the Spirit and therefore was not under the law but was under grace.  “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14.

Paul then says that the deeds of the flesh are evident, meaning they are well known and plainly seen.  He then lists them in the next three verses.  “immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19b-21.  Note the wording at the end of this verse, ‘inherit the kingdom of God’.  Those who inherit it will enter it.  Jesus tells us who will enter the kingdom of heaven.  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Matthew 7:21.  It is those who do the will of the Father; those who walk in the Spirit. 

However, as our focus verse states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23.  These are the things that the Spirit leads us to do.  Note these are called the ‘fruit of the Spirit’.  Paul is using the analogy of a tree.  Living according to the Spirit of God produces good fruit, and likewise the deeds of the flesh as listed above produce bad fruit.  “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:16-20.

It is important that we, as Christians, focus our attention on being led by the Spirit of God and not our own fleshly desires.  Our flesh leads to all types of sins, while the Spirit leads us to bearing fruit that is pleasing to God.  And, as stated above, the flesh and the Spirit are at enmity with each other, in other  words we cannot be beholden to both.  It is either one or the other.  Therefore, we must decide which we choose.  We may desire to be led by the Spirit, but we may give in to our desires of the flesh.  If we find this is us, we must sincerely repent and turn away from these worldly ways.  We must sorrow for our disobedience to God, for this sorrow leads to repentence.  “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Colossians 3:12

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Colossians 3:12 

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” – Colossians 3:12

Paul starts with telling the Colossians they have changed from the ways of the world to the ways of God.  “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created hima renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.” Colossians 3:9-11.  They are not the same persons they were prior to becoming Christians.  They have put on the new self, ones who have abandoned the ways of the world with all the evils that were the norm of their old lives.  For they have put on the new self that comes with accepting the salvation Christ presented and have become a totally different person.  They are not who they used to be.

Paul then moves forward with this idea by saying, in our focus verse, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12.  The idea of the word “So” is “Therefore”.  He is telling them they have been saved and are now Christians, they should therefore live as such.  Because they have chosen to accept Christ as Savior, have put on Christ, it is essential that they show forth the attributes that signify this change.  They cannot put on the new life without living it, because this change is not by name only, that is they are Christians as opposed to not being a Christians.  Paul is laying out what putting on the new self actually means.  He lists five attributes that show the reality of this change in how they deal with their fellow men and women, whether they be Christians or not.

First, there is compassion.  This is an inward, tender and real mercy shown to all men.  It is doing good in  providing for the real needs we see, either in providing goods or in showing love and encouragement to them.  Next is kindness, showing love and mercy with cheerfulness to all men.  Third is humility, in essence looking at others more highly then ourselves, putting others before ourselves.  Then gentleness, or meekness, which shows itself in not being envious of what others have or what they can do.  And finally, patience.  This is probably the most difficult of the five.  This is bearing the evil words or actions of another and is not easily provoked to wrath or anger themselves.

He them goes on in verse thirteen with, “bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” Colossians 3:13.  These are important qualities that go along with our focus verse in showing how Christians should be.  All of these acts in verses 12 and thirteen, should be expressed no matter what has occurred.  They should be universally acted out, no matter what has occurred by whoever.  This is especially true though in  our interactions with fellow Christians.  Note the words in the above verse, bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, just as the Lord forgave us.  Paul told the Corinthians the following, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1.  Paul was saying, follow my ways where I follow Christ’s ways. 

This should be our focus in this life, do as Christ did.  And the only way we can do this is to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit that resides in us.  It is hard sometimes to be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient with others.  It can also be difficult to bear with another and forgive when a serious wrong is done against us.  However, this is our calling in Christ.  Nobody ever said this life was easy, but it is what we are called to.  We are to reach out to a lost world, and how better to do that than to be loving to them, showing them the better life God has promised us by our actions and words of grace.  And no matter how difficult it gets, God will be with us, just as He was with the Israelites while journeying to the promised land.  And these words Moses spoke to all of Israel as he tells them He will not be crossing the river Jordan with them are applicable to us today.  “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6. No matter what God calls us to do, He will be with us all the way.  And He is calling us to live a pure and holy life as outlined in Colossians 3:12-14.  And also the word of Paul to the Colossians to comfort them, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body: and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:15-17,

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.