Real religion

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With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O mortal, what is good: and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. ~Micah 6:6-8 (NRSV)

In Micah, the author accuses the people of not having real religion. They went through the motions of the spiritual acts and festivities. But they forgot that it wasn’t their acts but their heart that God was looking at, He looks at the spirit of their giving.

Only if we walk humbly with God can we respond to God in a proper (good) way. God isn’t looking for the large sacrifices that might seem culturally acceptable. We are required instead to practice “justice” so that we can set things right between others and God and “love kindness” by maintaining a loyal commitment to God and others that transcend any legal requirement.

We are reminded in this summary of the Law by Micah that walking humbly with God can only result from a transformed life that conforms to the image of God. If we wish to be genuine Christians we must strive towards an intimate walk with God based on faith and a life of active service to others rooted in compassion and justice, they reflect the loving nature of the One whose image they bear. This orientation is a movement from self to God in all things. Real religion is a journey of faith working by love leading to holiness of heart and life.

Heavenly Father, May I find myself this day on a journey towards being a reflection of You in all I do. Help me to have enough strength to practice justice, to show kindness and to humbly walk with You. Amen.

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