Before a person gets married, they often think through what characteristics they would want in a future spouse. Most lists, whether written or unwritten, probably look similar: kind, smart, good-looking, and a follower of Jesus. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself "What are the characteristics God is looking for in a follower of Christ?" Just like we all have particular characteristics we look for in a friend or a potential spouse, God also has characteristics He desires in people. Micah 6:8 gives us three characteristics that God is looking for in those who follow Him: justice, kindness, and humility.
What characteristics are most important when picking a spouse? What characteristics are some of the most shallow?
1. If someone was going to describe you in just one word, what would they say?
2. Micah 6:8 tells us that God desires His people to be just, kind, and humble. Which of those three characteristics are the most difficult for you to live out? Why?
3. Read Micah 3:5-12. How do these verses show us that God is clearly a God of justice? What injustice particularly "makes your blood boil"?
This is what the Lord says:
“You false prophets are leading my people astray!
You promise peace for those who give you food,
but you declare war on those who refuse to feed you.
Now the night will close around you,
cutting off all your visions.
Darkness will cover you,
putting an end to your predictions.
The sun will set for you prophets,
and your day will come to an end.
Then you seers will be put to shame,
and you fortune-tellers will be disgraced.
And you will cover your faces
because there is no answer from God.”
But as for me, I am filled with power—
with the Spirit of the Lord.
I am filled with justice and strength
to boldly declare Israel’s sin and rebellion.
Listen to me, you leaders of Israel!
You hate justice and twist all that is right.
You are building Jerusalem
on a foundation of murder and corruption.
You rulers make decisions based on bribes;
you priests teach God’s laws only for a price;
you prophets won’t prophesy unless you are paid.
Yet all of you claim to depend on the Lord.
“No harm can come to us,” you say,
“for the Lord is here among us.”
Because of you, Mount Zion will be plowed like an open field;
Jerusalem will be reduced to ruins!
A thicket will grow on the heights
where the Temple now stands.
4. What is one thing you can do this week to fight against injustice?
5. Read Matthew 5:43-48. These verses give us a picture of the kindness described in Micah 6:8. When was the last time you, out of kindness, served someone for no reason at all?
"You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
6. Read Philippians 2:1-4 & James 1:17. How do these verses give us a greater understanding of humility? Which characteristic about humility is the hardest for you to live out? Why?
- Humble people recognize their strengths and weaknesses.
- Humble people give credit where credit is due.
- Humble people realize that each breath they breathe is a gift of God.
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
7. What needs to change in your life right now so you can do justice, love kindness or walk humbly with God this coming week?
As a group, consider one cause against injustice that you can take up. This cause can be right down the street from you or it can be half-way across the world. Then, make a plan this week to do one thing to support that cause and fight against the injustice happening in the world. If you need help finding a cause, check out International Justice Mission, A21 Campaign, and The Voice of the Martyrs. Whatever cause you choose, pray for those being affected by that cause. But stretch yourself beyond just prayer, remembering that 1 John 3:18 says, "Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions." Take action through selecting a cause that your group can be involved in. If it is homelessness, go serve at a soup kitchen. If it is domestic violence, go help out at a home for hurting women. If it is sex-trafficking, get connected with an organization in Albuquerque that offers counseling for those affected. Come up with a plan, then ask God to bring peace and justice to the people whom this cause is affecting through your small group.
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Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.