With that in mind we’ll tackle the question; “What does God want from me?” How do I live my life and conduct my affairs so that what I do pleases Him and gets me into heaven? There are two distinct parts to this so we’ll consider them separately. I’ll start with the simple answer to the second part of the question, what do I need to do to get into heaven? That easy! Nothing, there is nothing that I can do to get myself into heaven. I’ve lost at that game even before it began. The sin (rebellion against God’s rule) that I inherited from my parents, an inheritance goes all the way back to Adam, and the sin that I have committed since birth have earned me a one way ticket to hell…eternal death and damnation. After all, the Apostle Paul makes it quite clear that “the wages of sin is death” in Romans 6:23. The good news is that I don’t have to do anything to get myself into heaven. God has already done it for me! That same verse, Romans 6:23, goes on to tell us, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Faith in what Christ has done for me takes hold of the gift of eternal life won by Jesus at the cross. Even that faith comes to me as a gift.
Okay, that’s great. No, that’s wonderful! How about the first part of the question above? That can’t be simple, can it? Actually it is. In His Word, the Bible, God tells us exactly what it is we should be doing to lead the type of life that He designed for us from the beginning. It’s there toward the end of the Old Testament, in the Minor Prophets, in the little Book of the Prophet Micah. Micah served as God’s messenger to His people, a prophet, around 700 years before the birth of Jesus. He witnessed the fall of Israel, the northern kingdom, and foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile to Babylon that occurred 100 years after his prophetic ministry ended. He also foretold of a promised ruler, Messiah, who would come from Bethlehem. You heard that from Micah 5:2 back at Christmas.
It’s in the next chapter…6, verse 8…that we find the key to our question, what God wants from us. It’s as plain as the nose on my face, just the way I like it. “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” That’s it! In plain English (it was written in Hebrew first). First we’re told to “act justly”, to do the right thing in all situations. Not what might seem right to us, what brings us the greatest earthly gain, but to do right according to the wisdom of God. The Word of God goes to great length to explain what is and is not right in the eyes of the Lord. Next God…through Micah…tells us to “love mercy”. That means that we are to be people who quickly and freely forgive, and people who rejoice in the forgiveness that God has given us for the sake of the sufferings of Christ. Finally, God invites us to walk with Him. He invites us to come alongside Him on our journey through this life, and while we do we have the opportunity to talk with Him. As we go down that path we need to remember who He is and who we are. We can let Him be God and take care of all of the difficult stuff, while we gaze at Him in wonder and awe. It’s sort of like a little boy walking on a trail in the forest with his dad. The boy feels brave and bold because his father is with him, guiding and protecting, while he eagerly soaks up all of the things that his dear daddy tells him along the way.
So there it is, the secret to a God pleasing life. Actually, there’s no secret to it at all. God doesn’t hide Himself from us, and make us guess what He’s thinking. I wouldn’t like that at all. No, He reveals Himself and in His will for us in His Word. His love letter to us!