January 15, 2009

What is required of you?

By Denise de Vasconcelos Araujo

“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.” Micah 6:8

I've been thinking a lot about what other people require of me. It's amazing how when we are not feeling good about ourselves or when we are having a bad week, everything people say becomes huge in our heads. I started noticing that in my own life. When I wasn't feeling well, my self-esteem was low, people's words had a greater effect on me. Even the words of people I knew weren't trustworthy become important to me and consequently a burden.

Their words or expectations become a burden, because we have the temptation to live by them and to plan our lives around what they say we should do, how we should act, respond… You start planning your life around requirements… people's requirements about you.

These can be the people you most love – your family, spouse, pastor, leader, coordinator. And of course, you want to please them, you need them! This is a personal dilemma. I don't know how many of you face it, but I do! And in moments like those – which basically means our entire lives - we need to pay attention to the way we respond to these requirements.

We need to evaluate why these requirements may affect us so much. Am I paying too much attention to what other people say? Am I just trying to please people to win their affection or trust? Am I spending more time trying to know how I can please people than actually knowing what I have to do?

This has to do with identity - who God created us to be and who we are in Christ. We need to be constantly reminded of that. When we’re not paying attention to this we lose track of what is important.

In Micah 6:8 we see what God requires from us: act justly, love mercy and walk humbly before Him. Sounds simple, doesn't it? The truth of the matter is that it takes a lot of work, because we need to change the way we think. We waste time on evangelical obligations, ecclesiastic duties, gossip, and discussions. But these verses show the only thing He requires from us, that which should be our only obsession, and what keeps us from sleeping at night.

We waste so much time feeling inadequate, planning a gazillion things, pleasing people, worried about what other people will say, doing 453 programs with our congregation a year, for what?? He is the only One allowed to make requirements and His are:


I know other people can require things from us, but we need to fulfill His requirements first. The ones that are made by others can be dealt with when we finish dealing with what God requires, and as we know, that will already take up much of our time.

Stay strong!

**Denise is the President of the BWA Youth Department and on staff at a Brazilian Baptist mission organization.

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