He has shown you, O mortal, 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. Micah 6:8
This passage is one of the great summary statements of the Bible. It gives the clearest and most complete picture of how God expects his people to conduct themselves. The verse gives a threefold definition of God’s standard of goodness and what our commitment to him involves: (1) We must act justly, which requires being fair and honest in our dealings with others. Notice that it says we must “act justly”. This is significant because a person can claim to appreciate justice; but they can speak falsely unless they are willing to take necessary action to make sure that others are treated justly. (2) We must love mercy, which requires showing genuine active compassion and kindness to individuals in need. Notice that it says we must “love mercy”. This is significant because people can actually appear to do merciful things, but their actions are not true unless they really love people from their hearts. (3) We must walk humbly with our God, which requires constant gratitude toward God, total reliance on him and an undying respect for his purposes – following them everyday. Public worship is only a small part of our total commitment to Christ. A genuine love for the Lord must be shown by gracious actions toward others – particularly those in need.
This Old Testament passage dovetails nicely with James 1:22-25 which says this:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
We are to be doers and not just hearers, because it does no good if we just talk about acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God and then do not actually put any of those things into practice. We must remember that the world around us could care less what say, because what really matters to them is our actions. And when our actions don’t match our words then we do God a disservice.