Returning the Gift

Within the last 24 hours, I have read the same Scripture reference twice (one penned in a book, the other posted on a facebook status). Interestingly enough, in both accounts, the selected verses neglected to include the final three words of the complete sentence as quoted in the Bible. Perhaps you are familiar with the reference to which I am referring, as taken from the book of Micah: Act justly; love mercy; walk humbly.

While this thought implies a good directive, without the final three words, I can’t help but think that we are missing the fullness of its true exhortation. And perhaps, along with the missing words, we are missing out on the only way to fully live the suggested actions. The remainder of verse 6:8 reads: with your God. And I find it’s those last three words that “pack the punch.”

With your God.

It’s presence that makes a relationship.

God seems to get that. In fact, it’s the very reason that Jesus was sent to earth. Born of an unwed, virgin teenager, He came to the lowliest of men so that every person, from every station in life, would have opportunity to have a relationship with Him.

In Matthew 1:23, Jesus was fittingly christened Immanuel – which means, God with us. Divine nature uniting with human nature. Salvation come to earth at the mere mercy of God alone through the precious gift of His Son. Redemption found through the blood of a cross. Intimate relationship offered through the rending of the temple’s veil at the fingertips of the Almighty.

No wonder God longs for us to walk with Him in justice, mercy, and humility. His love poured out on Calvary’s hill to fulfill the law and deliver us from slavery, once and for all. No more need for sacrificial offerings of the blood of rams and bulls. It’s the offering of our hearts that He desires most.

The gift of our presence offered back to the Giver of Life.

Contrary to what some of us live as if we believe, the action God requires of us is not the paying a price for the pardon of sin, but the gift of love itself. And this gift is not even something we are asked to give of our own power and might, but a gift that naturally emits from having a relationship with our Savior. It is a love that is produced as we walk with God. We can only live lives filled with justice, mercy, and humble thanksgiving when we have fully acknowledged the redemption extended to us – by choosing to take God at His word and by inviting Him to become our God.

John 1:14 tells us that the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. Jesus the Christ  – Immanuel – God with man – God in man – united with us by the power of His Holy Spirit – in the preaching of His Word – through the healing of His hands – by the promised and living Savior in our midst. Immanuel – the most holy and intimate fellowship between God and man imaginable.

As we walk the course of our lives, let’s not forget to include those final three words of Micah 6:8. Act justly… with your God. Love mercy… with your God. And walk humbly… with your God.

This Christmas, may we wrap our hearts around the truth of Immanuel and offer back the gift of our presence in return. This year, let’s not only celebrate the gift of God with us but invite Him to celebrate the gift of us with God.

May your hearts be overwhelmed by the gift of our Savior’s love.
Merry Christmas!

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