Shepherd of Faith

Inspiration for your journey to God!

What the Lord requires is quite simple

Do justice, act kindly, walk humbly

What is good!

What the Lord requires is quite simple.  Micah 6:8 says:  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!

To DO justice:  to exhibit just behavior and treatment.  The definition for justice reads:  a concern for justice, peace and genuine respect for people.

To LOVE kindness:  Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate.  We must LOVE these things.

To WALK humbly WITH your God:   Walk, unhurried.  Humbly, having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience.   WITH your God, aware of His presence in and around you, fully dependent on Him, knowing that without Him you can do nothing.

How often do we rush through our prayer time or stillness in order to get to the “next” thing? Do you boast?  How often do you view yourself as superior to others?  Do you take the time on a regular basis to soak it all in and acknowledge moments in your daily life where God has rested His hand?  What changes do you need to make with regard to these things?

This post has been in my “notes” for quite some time.  I wrote it after hearing the readings during Sunday mass a few months ago.  Why I hadn’t posted it I’m not sure.  Maybe I felt I needed to elaborate a bit more.  Anyway, today I was reading lecture notes for an Old Testament course I’m taking and here’s what I read:

And so the past is prologue.   The prophetic conscience of the past becomes the prophetic consciousness of the present, if we open our minds and hearts to God.  The people in the days of Micah were wondering about the right way to be religious, worrying about the correct performance of their rituals, concerning themselves with looking good.  The prophet said to them:  “What is good has been explained to you.  The Lord wants only this:  that you act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God.” taken from The Great Themes of Scripture: Old Testament by Joseph Martos and Richard Rohr (maybe this is why this post had to wait)

It’s really that simple.  Why do we continually complicate things?

Examine your conscience today.  Are you fulfilling the requirements?  Are they your priority?

Colossians 3:5-16: Renunciation of Vice

Colossians

Renunciation of Vice

Colossians 3:5-16 reads as follows:

Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:  immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.  Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.  By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way.  But now you must put them all away:  anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths.  

Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator.  Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumscision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free, but Christ is all and in all.  

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another;  as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.  And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.  And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

I’ve read so many books on spirituality.  They all speak of and compare “old self” and “new self” or “false self” and “true self.”  They all refer to the “ego” and juxtapose it to the “heart.” They insinuate that the ego and the heart have nothing in common and that  they actually cannot “work well” together.  All of the books I’ve read on the subject often talk about transforming ourselves into something new.  Basically, letting go of the ego and operating from the heart, which is all love.

On this website, I often suggest the importance of transformation. That  it should be a goal we set for ourselves.  Why is it so important to me and many others?  I personally believe that it is transformation that will ultimately bring us the peace and happiness we seek.

I get the impression that a lot of this talk of EGO and HEART falls on deaf ears among Christians.   The perception is that it’s all New Age talk and babble.  But the reality is that this message can be found in our Bibles.  It is in the scripture verse I’ve cited above.

The Bible itself is telling us to “die to self” “be transformed.”  Forget the false self (stop lying to one another).  Have you ever thought about who  you REALLY are, who you REALLY want to be, as opposed to who you NEED to be in order for others to like you?  Stop putting on a front, be yourself.  The Bible says “put on a new self.”  What does that mean?  It means one who grows continuously toward holiness; one who is transformed, not one who remains stagnant.

We’re told to operate from the heart – to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  That is LOVE and THAT will bring us peace.  If we put on love in all areas of our lives, it will PERFECT all other virtues.  There is a sense of freedom that comes with putting on love and opening our hearts to all there is.

Have you noticed how much more difficult it is to harden our hearts?  And how much it actually hurts?  I have – it physically hurts.  Scripture tells us, if today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.  My translation:  If you believe, then you must love with an open heart.  That means everything and everyone ALL the time.  That’s hard, I know, but we must try.

How do we get to this place of love and peace?  This verse tells us how.  BE THANKFUL!  It’s so true.  We have to change our focus.  We all have issues in life that we have to deal with.  Of course, if we focus on those issues, it becomes difficult to remain happy.  If we focus on gratitude and on all that is right with our lives, it’s quite easy to remain in love.

Paul’s letter to the Colossians speaks to each one of us today and gives us great advice on how to be happy.  FOCUS ON GRATITUDE!  How can we NOT be at peace in that frame of mind?  God bless you!

Here is a paragraph from Vision and Viewpoint, by Joan Chittister which seems to elaborate on the importance of being transformed.  She mentions how our spirituality should be so deep….

Gandhi demands that our political involvement and our personal responses be based on a spirituality so deep, a spiritual attunement so constant, a spiritual vision so broad that no personal ambition, no selfish gains, no parochial interests corrupt the depth of our commitment nor the openness of our hearts. No seed ever sees the flower, Zen teaches. Those who follow Gandhi, may, like him, never know their successes. But like Gandhi, too, they will never really know defeat.  

To read the whole article, click here.

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