"He has told you, O man, 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?" This verse, to me, sums up all of the law. This encompasses how we are to treat others and relate to God. This sums up the Golden Rule.
Trying to live according to these words in this society is increasingly difficult. Those who promote sin seem to be winning the culture war, high profile religious leaders seem to be promoting humanistic theology, and the basic family unit is slowly becoming extinct. How do we, who hold to Biblical values and relate to a society that is hostile to God and His people? What does this verse tell us?
He has told us what is good: God has revealed to us in His word what is good. How can we know what is good if we are not studying the Word. Many churches have gotten away from teaching the Bible in exchange for a feel good message. Ministers like the current Pope are more interested in making people feel good than confronting sin and leading them to the cross for salvation. Preachers of self esteem like Robert Shuller have paved the way for heretics like Joel Osteen to pollute the world with a pseudo Gospel that is more interested in making "well balanced" people than winning souls for Christ. How do believers get duped by these purveyors of psycho-babble? They do not read the Word. God has told us what is good. Read the Word.
I find it interesting that the passage says that God requires of us. The Bible is not a collection of suggestions for a good life, the Bible is essential information instructing us in the only way to be right with God. This not simply what God likes, but what God requires of us. As believers, we had better be interested in what God requires of us, if it is important enough for Him to put it in writing for us, we had probably better listen. Faith in Christ is essential in enabling us to accomplish this command because the Bible clearly states that without faith, it is impossible to please God.
To do Justice: This has to do with how we conduct our lives. This means following the rules. This means doing what is right always. Often it is easy to cut corners, to lie or cheat a little to make life easier. Having an "end justifies the means" mentality is contrary to God's method. If we have to break the rules to accomplish a good goal, we defeat the purpose of the good goal. To do justice is to live a life above reproach and above suspicion.
To love kindness: This has every thing to do with how we treat others. Other Bible versions use the term mercy in place of kindness. To show mercy and kindness to others is to reveal the love of God to people in the midst of their sin. It means providing for them even when we do not feel they deserve provision. It also means caring about them enough to encourage them to live right before God. Not attacking and condemning sinful behavior but revealing God's truth gently and lovingly, leaving room for the Holy Spirit to convict their hearts. Pointing fingers and accusing will drive people away but a kind word or generous act reveals God's nature and will draw people to Him. When we condemn others, we are acting contrary to God's nature.
To walk humbly with our God: This has everything to do with how we relate to God in our own personal spiritual life. God desires our heart, mind and strength. God gives us certain tasks to perform and abilities to perform them. Walking humbly with God does not mean walking around with our heads down thinking how lowly we are, it means knowing who we are in Christ and living within those parameters. Knowing who we are in Christ is essential to walking with God. This is accomplished through fellowship with God in prayer and worship.
God wants us to have full and productive lives. God has provided all we need to do this through His Word and Holy Spirit. Through the Word we find His heart and through His Spirit we find His power. Faith in Christ unlocks both the Word and Spirit in our lives, the Word becomes alive as we are indwelt by the Spirit. We are indwelt by the Spirit when we place our faith in Christ.
God is not interested in man's psychological nonsense and self esteem, He is interested in a heart surrendered to Him through faith. When we are able to discover His plan and purpose for our lives we will be fulfilled far beyond any notions of the self esteem movement which claims value for no inherent reason. Knowing that the creator of the universe became a man and died for me because I rebelled against Him and had no hope of self renewal gives me value far beyond any notions of self worth. I have worth to God.
He has shown you O man what is good. Are you willing to find out what is good and then do it?