Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.
Last summer my nephews were in town visiting from Georgia. As we carted them around the Pacific Northwest, one of our car conversations turned towards food. All six children in the car shared their favorite restaurant and favorite meal, but I only remember one answer. My 10 year-old nephew told me his favorite restaurant was the Golden Corral and his favorite meal consisted of: rice, parmesan pasta, cheese pizza and french fries. The buffet style restaurant allowed him to eat as much as he wanted – hard to argue against that as a favorite for a growing boy.
I asked, “have you noticed that everything on your plate is the same color? What about adding some meat, fruit and vegetables to your meal?” The pile of starch that my nephew ingested filled him temporarily, but before long, even after two plates of food, he was hungry again.
I began to think about the difference between being full and being satisfied.
Over the next few months, I became awake to the reality that I had been trading lasting satisfaction and nourishment for ‘full’.
My life was full of engagement and activity yet full of sameness and predictability. I was busy and over-scheduled, and the many commitments that filled my time had me only interacting with people who were very similar to me; similar in faith, race, age, and socioeconomic status. What I thought would fill me with a sense of accomplishment and purpose in fact left me lethargic and dissatisfied.
This dissatisfaction lingered for far too long, mostly because of how long it took to identify the source. I was doing all the things that had the appearance of fulfillment, but there was a hunger that was not being satisfied deep in my soul.
During this season of self-reflection, the Holy Spirit gently pushed me towards a truth I am now, more than ever, convinced every Christ follower must believe:
Lasting satisfaction is found in restful communion with Jesus.
In this place a stillness and silence I heard with fresh ears the call to live differently and to move towards a way of living that advanced His Kingdom, not just one that protected my comforts. Turns out that more of the same was not what I needed. I welcomed the holy disruption.
“God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.” Matt 5:6
The living water Jesus references in John 4 has always been available to me, but for most of my life I’ve continued to pass by in a hurry, too distracted to notice that what I was searching for was within my reach all along. When I am still and find the courage to empty myself of my bloated dissatisfaction, my soul begins to hunger and thirst for the things of God. My mind, heart, and body began to wake up to acknowledge my divided self.
I’m trading my people pleasing tendencies, self sufficient attitude and fear of the unknown for a desire to see the Kingdom of God invade my life and my city. But it only began when I acknowledged that my attempts at nourishment left me feeling apathetic and unmotivated. I needed the Spirit of God to activate something inside of me. To reveal to me my sins of omission and my prejudices that I cloaked as preferences.
These moments of clarity and enlightenment came through prayer as I asked:
“Lord, show me what I cannot see on my own.”
He answered my prayer quickly and swiftly. In the span of four months, God assembled an army of diverse women in Portland who were praying the same prayer. We had all grown tired of doing more of the same. God was forging a new road forward, and He was inviting us to walk it together in a posture of humility and love to display His heart for justice.
This past weekend I joined with 500 other women in the center of Portland to worship the name of Jesus with ONE voice. It was a holy moment. Women from different cultures and generations filled the space. Many different shades and hues of skin color painted a beautiful picture of the diversity in the body of Christ.
It was a snapshot of heaven.
A hunger for something new, something holy, was birthed in that place. The echo of our time together was a deep hunger for more of God’s presence. God is filling the hearts of His people with the things that burn in His:
to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly. (Micah 6:8)
Transformation is a process of surrender, and I am in the midst of it.
I am seeking God, and in the seeking there is finding, and the finding releases joy, and that joy overflows to a place of divine satisfaction. Psalm 107:9 speaks of the promise of satisfaction for the longing soul. And in Romans 15:13 we are reminded that God will satisfy us with good things like joy, peace and hope in the Holy Spirit.
“God is Love, and love is generous, wanting to give, needing only cooperation on the part of the recipient in the form of willing, wanting, hungering. Thus all who hunger for God’s righteousness will be filled with it.” —Peter Kreeft