In Deuteronomy 10:12-13, Moses spoke the words of the Lord, asking, “Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you?”
God had rescued Israel from Egypt. Now, He wanted them to think about obedience as they prepared for the conquest of Canaan. What does God expect? What does God demand? In the previous decades, Moses had revealed a lengthy law, which later rabbis calculated to consist of 613 rules.
God’s answer was profoundly uncomplicated.
What does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?
What Does God Require from YOU?
It’s an important question that every human being should consider. The power and righteousness of God are obvious from creation itself (Romans 1:18-21). But to understand what this God requires, we must turn to direct revelation.
My Bible has 1,614 pages. It is full of commandments and examples that tell me in detail how God expects me to live my life. It can be daunting to think of all the numerous precepts and regulations by which my life will be judged.
But ultimately, the whole law of God boils down to a few basic principles treasured in the heart. Everything else is an outworking of these basics. What does God require of you?
Fear Him. Even the closest, deepest relationship with God must include a measure of fear. Paul writes, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). God loves all mankind, and yet He threatens to punish bad behavior. Let no one think that he is so close to God that he is above God’s word. God is our heavenly Father and even our Friend, but never our buddy. A God-fearing person strives to please Him (Prov. 9:10).
Walk in All His Ways. The Bible is not a series of hoops to jump through for God’s entertainment—the Bible is a direct reflection of God’s character. “The one who says he abides in Him, ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6). We avoid bad language because God is pure. We treat others with kindness and forgiveness because God is kind and forgiving. We tell the truth because God is truth. “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).
Love Him. Loving God is the foremost commandment (Mark 12:28). Falling in love with God is really not that much different than falling in love with a person. We discover God, we learn more about Him, we become enthralled by the things He has done for us, and we confess our loyalty to Him forever. Yet it’s more than infatuation. It’s about treasuring God above all else. He longs for that relationship. When is the last time you prayed to Him, “I love You?”
Serve Him with Your All. There is perhaps no one more pillar-worthy than the apostle Paul (2 Cor. 12:11), and yet he calls himself a lowly servant of Christ (Rom. 1:1). We are God’s slaves. We live to serve Him; not to serve ourselves, not to serve money, not to serve any human being. We belong to God.
This service is given freely, gladly, and whole-heartedly. We do not begrudge Him our time and effort, because He purchased us from slavery to Satan with His own blood, and we owe Him our lives. There is no part of us held back in reserve. There is nothing of which we say, “God, you can have everything except this one thing right here.” No activity, object, pursuit, or relationship is exempted from God’s claim to “all” our heart and soul.
Keep His Commandments, Which Are for Your Own Good. A devoted Christian has a pure and genuine attitude in the heart that says, “God’s will be done.” What does God require of you, except to do what He says? That doesn’t require a complicated checklist! “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3). Jesus says, “if you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15).
God isn’t making rules to spoil our fun. His commandments are “for our good.” God is the Creator of man. He knows better than anyone else what will give a person a fulfilling life both here and eternally. The Bible is not designed to restrict us, but to liberate us from the pain and heartache and suffering of sin, and to bring us into fellowship with Almighty God. “His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). We must learn to appreciate the limits God has set, rather than rebel against them. —John Guzzetta