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When you’re wondering what God wants from you

Originally published Friday, 10 October 2014.

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbour, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. Micah 6:8 (MSG)

Sometimes learning to love like God makes me feel uncomfortable. (tweet this)

The other night I went for dinner with friends. We ordered pizza, and we laughed, and we spoke about the ups-and-downs of our week.

And then my one friend started speaking about meeting a homeless woman. 

My friend said all she wanted to do was run into the store and buy some coconut milk. 

As she walked out a lady in a ripped, stained dress hobbled past her on crutches.

My friend looked away and headed for her car. And then she says her heart went, “Go back and ask the lady her story.”

The homeless woman showed my friend the skin on her feet had stretched so far, and so tight, in some places it had burst. The lady dressed in rags told my friend how she had a letter from the nurses for the hospital but no way to get there. 

And my friend told how she opened the door of her car and invited Nancy to step in. Two days later, her car still smelt septic like Nancy’s feet. 

My friend didn’t realise how much I thought she looked like Jesus as she spoke.

Then she turned to all of us, and said, “Wouldn’t you have done the same thing?” We all looked at each other and said, “No.”

I felt ashamed at my answer but more ashamed at the truth that lay behind it. 

I listen to my friends’ story, and my heart lurches, because I think Jesus would have acted like her. 

The next morning I sit with a journal and my bible and ask God, “Lord, what do you require of me? How do you want me to live?”

Immediately, Micah 6:8 comes to mind. I can say the verse from memory, but I grab my bible, and start writing down the phrases: 

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: 

Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, 

be compassionate and loyal in your love, 

And don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. 

Okay, I think as I read this, ‘I’ve got this. I’m fair, just, compassionate and loyal.’ 

Then I start to feel a little uncomfortable as I think about my friend reaching out to the homeless women in the parking lot. 

Surely, God doesn’t mean that homeless women is my neighbour? I already admitted at dinner last night that I couldn’t love her. 

I remember the prayer I’m fumbling through lately, “Lord, teach me how to love.” I mean it when I pray it. I really do want to live a life where I’m actually loving people, not just talking about it.

But then I hear my friend tell us how the homeless woman had vomit on her shirt, and how she had to buy air freshener so her car didn’t stink anymore, and I wonder, “Am I really serious about loving others?”

Is there some kind of loophole I can find that will allow me to only love people like me? (tweet this)

I read the last line of the verse again. I’ve been putting myself before others instead of taking what God said seriously. 

I can only be fair, just, compassionate and loyal when I think others hopes, dreams and desires are as important as my own. 

I can only love well when I believe someone is worth loving. (tweet this)

I find myself searching for words again, “God, forgive me for thinking more of myself than I should. Teach me how to love and open my eyes to see how worthy of love every person is.”

Ponder: What part of Micah 6:8 speaks to you? Is there some area of this verse where you feel you could improve in the way you love others?

Prayer: God, forgive me for thinking more of myself than I should. Teach me how to love and open my eyes to see how worthy of love every person is.

{A Note from Wendy}

I never intended to turn this into a series but I’m beginning to think maybe God has other ideas. In some ways, this is part 2 of the post I shared on Monday: When love is hard (or when you’re worried love will mean you have to move to South Sudan). The lessons I’m learning about love make me feel uncomfortable. Part of me doesn’t want others to know how little I know of loving others but I think this part of God’s plan to teach me how to love by ripping away the masks I wear that imply I have it all together. So I’m letting my heart, and His lessons, bleed onto this blog and trusting that God will complete the work he’s started.

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- This was orginally published on my site in July 2014 to read more devotionals like this go to ilovedevotionals.com